Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Common Dreams carries this Guardian article overviewing recent protest clashes in Portland (Oregon), Denver, and Nashville (Tennessee).  A brief check in Boston and New York.
Patricia Hughes, 38, a nurse who was at the Denver demonstration described the police behavior as "brutal and outlandish."

She said that police were putting on their riot gear before the demonstration began and that more than 100 officers charged into the crowd after one officer fell while dismantling a tent.

"It's an extraordinary decision that the police in Denver think rubber bullets are an acceptable response to a peaceful protest," she said.
Occupy Portland defied curfews, leading to arrests in Portland.

More here with Keith Olbermann from Occupy Denver.

Occupy Portland now reports 10 more arrests 4 A.M. this morning at Terry Schrunk Plaza, "peaceful" but under highly questionable legal circumstances.  You see, by late Sunday, Occupy Portland ran out of room at Chapman & Lowsdale Square, so protesters set up additional tents at the federally owned plaza.  Federal officials enlisted city police for the bust, which took place after most campers had gone to sleep and news crews left.  (Though stationed look-outs warned demonstrators that officials were on their way with drum signals.)  Police surrounded and confined campers, then engaged them in dialogue before making arrests.  When protesters expressed skepticism about which federal laws were being violated, no enforcement agency or representative gave an answer or provided Miranda warnings.  At Hatfield courthouse, later on, they were given a citation for "failing to comply with a lawful direction" and released.
“Does that mean that they were arrested for not doing what they were told instead of for violating a law?” [Occupy Portland activist] Jordan LeDoux wondered afterward. “That’s not the sort of thing you expect in this country.”
Former U.S. Marine Sergeant Miciah Dutt, also arrested, stated that they were not given Miranda warnings or told why they were arrested.

Occupy Portland references recent legal developments via Occupy Albany - where police refused the governor's order to arrest protesters on grounds that it was a violation of law or necessary to public safety - and now, Occupy Nashville

Occupy Nashville, and as Keith Olbermann also summarizes, recently took the governor and 2 members of his cabinet to court over the curfews with a victory announced this morning by The Tennessean.  U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger issued a temporary restraining order against the curfew upon an Occupy Nashville lawsuit asserting that the "the curfew announced about 14 hours before the first arrests last week was created without following required procedures and violates the protesters' rights to free speech, freedom of assembly and due process. [...] 'The governor chose a metaphorical shotgun to kill a fly when he decided to close the city's most historic political forum in response to the commission of misdemeanors by people near the protest,' says the lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee and local attorneys."

On the misdemeanors, apparently one person involved in a skirmish with another individual was kept out of the site later by protesters when he tried to enter - again - presumably to cause trouble for them.  (Though the newspaper appears to be spinning it as an exclusion of homeless persons.)  That's what I'm reading between the mainstream media lines.

Meanwhile, Occupy Nashville reported 67 First Amendment supporters facing below freezing temperatures on the 3rd night of reoccupation, and joined by 152 others, "volunteering to be arrested if Governor Bill Haslam and the Tennessee Highway Patrol continued to violate their first amendment rights of free speech."

Courtesy of Occupy Nashville
Nashville Protesters stand against the governor
for the First Amendment

From Occupy Nashville:
The community expressed its’ support throughout the night by sending donations of pizza, soup, and drinks. Hundreds of others joined them via livestream, facebook, and twitter.
At 6am Sunday morning, as church bells rang in downtown Nashville, the occupiers triumphantly greeted the day with singing and chants of “Our plaza! Our plaza!”
The THP did not raid the plaza and no arrests were made during the night. Occupiers are preparing to bed down in newly erected tents. Occupy Nashville will continue their struggle to demand that our voices freely be heard in public spaces. We will continue to demand an end to the pervasive corruption that has resulted from corporate control of our government. And we will continue to support the Occupy Wall Street movement. We are the 99% And so are you.
On Wall Street, New York police have not swapped the numerous generators they confiscated for a larger biodiesel, as some protesters indicated earlier understanding.

In Boston, Tom Menino made an about face of his own.  After trying to throw demonstrators out, and infamously stating that he "would not tolerate civil disobedience," he is now allowing them to camp, though urging them to leave because of snowy weather and dropping temperatures.

Tom Pugh here at truthout on the rise of lawyers stepping forward to help demonstrators through various legal challenges - the "largest mobilization of pro bono attorneys since the anti-war movement of the 1960s and 70s."
"It's probably bigger than the anti-war movement, because there are so many simultaneous demonstrations. I've never seen anything like it," said Carol Sobel, co-chair of the Mass Defense Committee of the National Lawyers Guild.

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