Occupy Miami Burns Eviction Notice From Miami-Dade County; Sunset Deadline Looms
Miami-Dade County has issued an order to vacate to Occupy Miami, warning protestors to leave their long-time "Peace City" encampment on the West Lawn of the Stephen P. Clark Government Center by sunset Tuesday or face arrest for trespassing.
Occupy Miami members burned the eviction notice, according to their Facebook page:
Hey, insomniacs. Won't be much sleep at the Occupy Miami campsite tonight. There's been some restructuring of the camp. There will be more in the morning. Quite a few people have cleared out but others have come. I'm sure there will be more of this later on as well. Word is the police are coming to remove us at 5 p.m. any way they deem fit. All leftover personal property will be declared abandoned and confiscated and destroyed. We burned the eviction notice. Time things got serious over here. We've decided to take a stand and not let them take our occupied territory so easily. We hope to see others stand with us. WHO'S STREETS? OUR STREETS! WHO'S PARK? OUR PARK!
According to an Occupy Miami release, the demand comes three days after a permit to vacate was denied on grounds of "current site conditions and unsafe activities." The group believes the move is related to a January 5 memo to Mayor Carlos Gimenez from County Commissioner Joe Martinez, urging the Mayor to declare overnight campers were trespassing and stating some of the group's activities were being watched by an unnamed federal agency.
"What may have started as free speech exercise has turned into a tent city without a visible purpose or end," the memo reads. "Your department issued an open-ended permit which is not customary...There have been various criminal complaints at tent city."
Martinez was not immediately available for comment, but Miami-Dade County spokesperson Suzy Trutie confirmed the "site conditions and unsafe activities" line to Miami New Times:
"The County believes every individual is entitled to express their First Amendment right and has supported the efforts of those willing to do so in a peaceful manner. The Victorian Sunshine Corporation's permit to use the West Lawn at the Stephen P. Clark Center was denied based on the unsanitary site conditions and unsafe activities, which have resulted in a number of arrests by the Miami-Dade Police Department. The safety of those at the site as well as the safety of County employees and residents and visitors to the Stephen P. Clark Center is our top priority."
Members say the timing is suspicious.
Peace City has been Occupy Miami's all-hours presence in the Magic City since October 15, 2011, and the most movement the group had been subjected to previously was shuffling 50 feet around a construction crane and back. According to the county memo signed by physical plant manager Juan C. Silva, protestors must now clear out by the time the sun goes down, or else:
You are hereby advised that you must vacate the West Lawn and remove all personal property by sunset, Tuesday, January 31, 2012. Anyone who remains on the West Lawn past sunset, Tuesday, January 31, 2012 will be subject to arrest for trespassing pursuant to Chap. S10.09 Florida Statutes and any personal property left will be considered abandoned and be confiscated and destroyed.
In the wake of the order, according to a release, Occupy Miami remains defiant:
"Occupy Miami is much more than simply a camp. It is a fluid, ever-evolving movement...Tuesday's eviction does not signal its demise, but rather the tangible shift to an exciting, new phase in a movement continually growing stronger, larger, and more powerful. Occupy Miami could never be encompassed by a camp, since its efforts are as diverse and flexible as the occupants of Miami itself.
"While the County may try to evict the camp, they can never evict the idea."
Via HuffPost Miami:
When an Occupy Miami member offered evicted protestors vacant apartments in a building he owns in Downtown Miami's Overtown neighborhood, it seemed like the perfect solution: the 'Peace City' space would provide headquarters for the movement and shelter a small faction of the group's most vulnerable members. But it hasn't gone well. Other tenants say the building has become a cesspool of drug use and violence while non-resident Occupy Miami members are trying to distance themselves from the 'radicals' -- all while the two factions are wrestling for control over Occupy Miami's social media sites and future plans.
The feud between the Overtown occupiers and more mainstream members has only gotten worse. The two factions are now battling for control of Occupy Miami's social media sites. The movement's main Twitter account recently announced it had been "hijacked by a small, non-consensus group of radical members." The Occupy Miami Facebook page was also temporarily hacked by someone inside Peace City. Meanwhile, the Overtown occupation is slowly driving away more moderate members.
"This is a black eye on the Occupy movement," says Shannon Reaze, an Overtown community organizer and Occupy Miami supporter who is now helping tenants move out of Paz's building. "The violence and drugs going on here are way outside of what I thought Occupy stood for. This place is destabilized."
...The supposedly hard-core activists here spend their days drinking and getting high. And as Peace City devolves into lawlessness, the most committed occupiers are leaving. Local landowners and politicians want the place shut down, while cops are suspicious. Yet as long as Paz wants the protesters around, nothing short of a demolition order can keep them out.
Via HuffPost DC:
WASHINGTON -- Occupy DC has a new lawsuit involving tents on its hands. But it doesn't involve temporary structures in McPherson Square.
Two protesters arrested during a February action outside Merrill Lynch's offices on 15th Street NW near McPherson Square have filed suit against the Metropolitan Police Department, Legal Times reports. (Read the complaint here.)
The plaintiffs, Samuel Dukore and Kelly Canavan, were part of a "targeted occupation" of Merrill Lynch on Feb. 13 where protesters were raising awareness about Merrill Lynch's reportedly close ties with Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.). Issa, for his part, claims that the reports of these close ties are "wildly inaccurate."
Full story here.
OWS reports via its website:
After the brutal attack on the attempted re-occupation of Liberty Square by NYPD on the 6-month anniversary of #OWS, a number of Occupiers have relocated their base of occupation to Union Square in midtown Manhattan, a point of convergence for several #OWS protests over the past 6 months.
According to reports on the ground, several dozen people slept in the park after the illegal and violent raid on Liberty Square. Over 70 people remain, now on Day 3. Although tents and tables are still banned, Occupiers have brought blankets and sleeping gear. Many are calling it ¨the new Occupation.¨ In addition to holding General Assemblies, Union Square Occupiers are providing vital jail support for those arrested on #M17 as they are released from NYPD custody. So far, the NYPD has made no attempt to remove Occupiers or prevent them from sleeping in the park.
Occupy Long Beach is defending the mother's home. For more information, click here.
Cecily McMillan, an Occupy Wall Street activist once profiled in Rolling Stone, suffered a seizure Saturday night during protest action near Zuccotti Park. Many on-scene reported Ms. McMillan had trouble breathing after she was tackled and handcuffed by law enforcement.
A video uploaded to Youtube late Saturday night purports to show the attack. Two women can be heard commenting, “There’s Cecily,” then there is confusion as the police clearly perform a violent take-down on someone in the crowd.
According to Jeff Sharlet’s November, 2011 article about the Occupy Movement, this may be Ms. McMillan’s second violent encounter with police.
To read the full story, go here.
Cops caught on video about 10 seconds in taking down the woman who had the apparent seizure:
Watch video from inside Zuccotti Park as police moved in late last night:
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The paper reports from last night's chaos at Zuccotti Park:
At one point, a woman who appeared to be suffering from seizures flopped on the ground in handcuffs as bystanders shouted for the police to remove the cuffs and provide medical attention. For several minutes the woman lay on the ground as onlookers made increasingly agonized demands until an ambulance arrived and the woman was placed inside.
By 12:20 a.m., a line of officers pushed against some of the remaining protesters, forcing them south on Broadway, at times swinging batons and shoving people to the ground.
Kobi Skolnick, 30, said that officers pushed him in several directions and that as he tried to walk away, he was struck from behind in the neck. “One of the police ran and hit me with a baton,” he said.
To read the full story, go here.
|@ Greg_Palast : Our photographer ZD Roberts beaten @OWS Zucotti Park by cops. Thrown to ground, hair grabbd, hit with clubs while yelling, I'M PRESS PRESS!|
|@ macfathom : Doubling east on Barclay, and now the ragged front of the march is at City Hall. #OWS|
|@ LuddoftheFuture : girl in the street having a seizure and the cops have her in handcuffs. can this get any worse (live at http://t.co/4pLyy3gP)|
Activists cry out for paramedics. The woman is limp on the ground. "Come on you violent bastards where's the paramedics?"
|@ jeffrae : March is heading north up broadway #ows #occupywallstreet|
|@ macfathom : Dozens of arrests, many cuffed and sitting on broadway waiting for their ride to jail. #OWS|
|@ RDevro : Police are barricading the park. It's cleared. I witnessed countless violent arrests. No way to estimate numbers.|
Cops pulling apart human chains. There are shouts for mic checks. Now, chants start forming. "The NYPD are sweeping through," says Tim on the live stream.
|@ ANIMALNewYork : NYPD just made an announcement that Brookfield has to "clean the park" and Liberty Plaza is officially "closed."|
|@ OccupyWallStNYC : Bagpipers just started marching into the park bringing the party mood with them, NYPD arrested one of them, and things got real heated. #OWS|
|@ JackieHRye : NYPD just "destroyed" the tent in Zuccotti Park, Occupiers call for its re-building. Marching band also going through the park. #OWS|
|@ RDevro : The tent in the middle of the park continues to fill with people planning to stay the night. Lots of energy here.|
Activists ask for more room as the tent is growing, expanding.
"It looks like a floating tent." -- as Tim on his live stream.
|@ OccupyWallStNYC : .@justawall is leading us in a song! "Hit the road, banks! And don't ya come back no more no more no more no more!" #OWS|
Activists have assembled make-shift, cardboard sleeping areas inside Zuccotti Park. The cardboard is joined by a large green tarp.