Occupation camps evicted in Portland, Denver, Chapel Hill

Several hundred protesters, some wearing goggles and gas masks, marched through downtown Portland, Ore., late Nov. 13, after riot police forced Occupy Portland demonstrators out of two encampments in nearby parks. Mayor Sam Adams had ordered the camps shut, citing unhealthy conditions and thir supposed attraction of drug users and thieves. More than 50 protesters were arrested in the eviction. (AP, Nov. 13) Denver police in riot gear one day earlier cleared protesters out of Civic Center park, tearing down tents and arresting 17. (Denver Post, Nov. 12) In Chapel Hill, NC, riot police wielding assault rifles stormed an abandoned downtown commercial property that had been occupied by protesters. Eight were arrested in the Nov. 13 raid. The Chapel Hill Transit bus used to take away the arrestees had a Wells Fargo ad, prompting the chant, “Who do they serve? Wells Fargo! Who do they protect? Wells Fargo!” (ThinkProgress, Nov. 13)

In Oakland, Calif., city officials held a closed-door meeting Nov. 12 before announcing a decision to evict Occupy Oakland from Frank Ogawa Plaza (renamed by protesters Oscar Grant Plaza). Protesters, who have maintained the camp for a month, pledge to resist removal. The eviction has been approved by a vote of the City Council, with the concurrence of Mayor Jean Quan. (SF Chronicle, Nov. 12)

In one of many such scenes around the world, over 90 were arrested and over two dozen injured as mounted police in Melbourne, Australia, charged the occupation camp in the city’s central square on Oct. 21. (PalTalk News Network, Nov. 13)

See our last post on the global econo-protests.

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  1. Occupy Oakland mobilizes after eviction
    Occupy Oakland activists are preparing for a 4 PM march through downtown following the eviction of their encampment for a second time this morning. From the San Francisco Chronicle, Nov. 19:

    Mayor Jean Quan said the camp on Frank Ogawa Plaza had to be removed because it “began to take a different path from the original movement.”

    “It was no longer about the abuses of the financial system, or foreclosures or the unemployed,” said Quan, who allowed the tents to return after police first cleared the camp Oct. 25. “The encampment became a place where we had repeated violence and, this week, a murder. We had to bring the camp to an end before more people were hurt.”

    So nice of Mayor Quan to tell us what the protests are “about.” Maybe the protesters aren’t capable of speaking for themselves? And has it ever been established that the killing near the park had anything to do with the protests?

  2. Police moving on NYC OWS encampment?
    Widespread reports suddenly indicate a large build-up of police in riot gear at Zuccotti Park. This comes the Monday night after weekend evictions in Portland and Denver. It also comes two days before OWS activists have called for a big civil disobedience action to shut down Wall Street. This blogger is headed down there now…

  3. Occupy Oakland marches on Berkeley
    Hundreds of protesters from the Occupy Oakland movement marching five miles along Telegraph Ave. to the UC Berkeley campus, chanting “Here comes Oakland” in a show of solidarity with University of California students who were holding their own protest against cuts to higher education. (Sacramento Bee, Nov. 15)

    Francisco “Pancho” Ramos Stierle, who became an icon of the Occupy Oakland movement when he meditated in a yoga pose throughout this week’s eviction form Oscar Grant Plaza until police dragged him away, may be deported back to his native Mexico. Federal agents put an immigration hold on the 36-year-old activist as he was detained in an Alameda County jail. (Oakland Tribune, Nov. 15)

  4. As if we weren’t already paranoid enough…
    A New York Times blog picked up by PoliceOne.com Nov. 15 shows a video produced by Berkeley Copwatch purporting to “out” a police infiltrator in the Occupy Oakland movement. And..

    The video’s soundtrack also features audio from 2003 of Howard Jordan, then Oakland’s deputy police chief and now the acting chief, admitting to a police board of review that his department had infiltrated an antiwar group that year to subvert a protest against the Iraq war.

    “You don’t need to have some special skill to be able to infiltrate these groups,” Mr. Jordan said. “You know, two of our officers were elected leaders within an hour… of being with that group. So if you put people in there from the beginning, I think we’d be able to gather the information and maybe even direct them to do something that we want them to do.”

    Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean the police aren’t really infiltrating your group…

  5. Fusion Centers coordinate OWS crackdown?
    A post on the slightly paranoid website This Can’t Be Happening speculates on federal coordination in the crackdown on the Occupation movement in several cities across the country in recent days—and particularly the ominous “Fusion Intelligence Centers“:

    “We definitely feel, especially in a movement like this that has arisen so quickly in a number of cities, that there will be a coordinated national effort to try and shut it down,” says Heidi Bogosian, executive director of the National Lawyers Guild, which has been playing a key role providing legal services to the new movement.

    “We see the scapegoating of these movements, the attacks at night, and in general tactics designed to terrorize and to scare protesters away. I can’t see this as anything other than centrally coordinated.”

    One indication of that coordination may have been a conference call among 18 city mayors which was confirmed by Oakland Mayor Jean Quan in a radio interview on San Francisco station KALW. Dan Siegel, an Oakland attorney who worked as an advisor to Quan, but who resigned in disgust after Oakland police and law enforcement personnel from a number of surrounding jurisdictions brutally drove occupiers there out of their park using tear gas, supposedly non-lethal ammunition (bean bags and rubber bullets) and flash-bang grenades in a night-time raid in the early hours of November 14, says that phone conference call took place, significantly, while Quan was in Washington, DC.

    Shortly afterwards, on Oct. 25, Quan authorized the first brutal police assault on Occupy Oakland. It led, among other things, to the critical wounding of Scott Olsen, an Iraq War veteran who was among the protesters, and was hit in the forehead by a police tear gas cannister fired at close range.

    Who organized that critical conference call? Was it Quan or one of the other mayors, or was it someone in the federal government? Siegel says he doesn’t know, and Quan isn’t saying.

    But both Siegel and Boghosian say they strongly suspect federal involvement in the planning of the recent spate of police violence against occupiers. Says Siegel, “It’s only logical to assume that the ‘Fusion Centers’ are involved, especially after the Oakland occupiers shut down the port in Oakland.”

    Some 72 Fusion Centers, located around the US and funded by the US at a cost of half a billion dollars, are a post 9-11creation of the new Homeland Security Department. Bringing the FBI together with local law enforcement departments, they both collect and share domestic intelligence, and can serve as command centers to direct local law enforcement in helping implement national law enforcement goals. There are also many Joint Terrorism Task Forces, which directly link the FBI with urban police departments.