The OB Media Rundown for 5/22/12

Occupy Boston shows support for NATO protests

Even though the protests against the NATO summit are happening in Chicago, about two dozen Occupy Boston protesters gathered in Copley Square Sunday night to say they are there in spirit.

“So they’re my personal friends over there. Three quarters of Occupy Boston right now is in Chicago,” Bill Lewis said.

NATO summit protests

Chicago is only the second city in the United States to host a NATO summit. The international meetings put a spotlight on global issues, but it was the scene outside of those meetings in Chicago where political protests clashed with police. Thousands of protesters filled the area around where the event is held.

The standoff lasted several hours, requiring hundreds of officers – many dressed in riot gear and gas masks. Some officers repeatedly hit protesters with batons while some of the protesters reportedly threw red paint and sticks at police. In all, about 45 protesters were arrested.
. . .

Back here in Boston, about 25 people showed up in Copley Square Sunday night to protest the NATO summit. The rally was organized by the Occupy Boston movement, but a much calmer scene than in Chicago.

T fare hike protest blocks Beacon St.

A group of disabled and wheelchair-bound activists took to the streets during their protest yesterday — literally.

The group chained their chairs together in a crosswalk on Beacon Street in front of the State House to signal their opposition to the MBTA’s fare hikes for THE RIDE. With traffic blocked, police were called in, the chains were cut and the activists retreated to the sidewalk in front of the State House.

“Most disabled people are low-income, so this is an emergency for us,” said James Brooks, a community organizer who lives in Brighton.

‘NATO 3′ say evidence against them was planted in their apartment

Attorneys for the men say they were entrapped by law enforcement, and that weapons recovered at their apartment were in fact left there by undercover agents.

“Occupy Miami has always been a peaceful movement,” said one local Occupy Miami participant who calls himself Bruce Wayne. “The culture of the movement is nonviolent ._._. no drugs and alcohol ._._. we went to great lengths to assure our activities were legal.”

Wayne said his conversations with 27-year-old Jared Chase – one of the three arrested in Chicago – revealed no nefarious plans in the works. Wayne described Chase as “very calm and soft-spoken,” a person who “did a lot of listening.”

Following the NATO 3, Chicago police have also arrested two other men on terrorism-related charges connected to the NATO summit. Both are Chicago-area residents, and appear to have no connection to the Florida trio, except for one link: all five of the accused possibly dealt with a pair of police informants. The male informant is thus far known only as “Mo,” and the female informant is known only as “Gloves.”

Occupiers in Florida share their experiences with the ‘NATO 3′

“I know these guys; they are not terrorists,” said Adam Salater, an Occupy Fort Lauderdale organizer who spent many hours with Betterly and Church. “We talked often about being careful, and staying nonviolent.”

Many Occupy supporters, as well as Chicago lawyers representing the three men, say police fabricated the charges to dampen protests as world leaders came to town.

“There is a chilling effect from the arrests, a reminder that being an outspoken critic has its dangers,” said Salater, 32. “But we will keep moving forward on stopping foreclosures. And I expect to be harassed for it.”

In Miami, Occupy participant Chris Escobar, who lived with two of the three suspects charged in Chicago last week, said he received a text message from his mother urging him to move out of the Overtown apartment where they all stayed “Nobody wants to get pegged as a terrorist,” said Escobar, 23. “But we can’t just stop now. This is just another reason to protest.”

Cleveland Five: Plied by FBI infiltrator with drugs, alcohol and sleep deprivation, while ‘using security culture against the activists’

Brandon and Connor had been part of the full-time occupation over the winter in Cleveland’s Public Square. After having grown frustrated with what they perceived as the Occupiers’ timidity – Schulte called it “passive gradualism” – the Five were encouraged by Azir to break off from Occupy Cleveland and form their own, much smaller group, “The People’s Liberation Army.” At first it was mostly just a graffiti crew – tagging the phrase “rise up” around the city and putting up stickers, said Schulte.

Azir would give them a case of beer in the morning, according to Schulte, have them work outside on houses all day, and then give them a case of beer at night. He gave them marijuana and would wear them down by keeping them up late into the night with drinking and conversation – all the while urging them to break away from other groups, keep their arrangement secret and not to trust other activists.

Looking back, Schulte said Azir and the FBI used “security culture against activists” and “developed patterns of trust to seem legit.” The Cleveland Five, he explains, “were coached by the federal government.”

Occupy The G8

[text of Occupier's address] Terrible economic times are facing billions of people worldwide. Where are the jobs? Roughly half of new college graduates in the U.S. cannot find work. Who’s getting all the money? The gap is widening between the one percent and the 99 percent.

At the same time, the world’s oceans are being devastated by overfishing, forests are being obliterated, mountains are being blown apart to get at the coal, and rivers around the world are being dammed, diverted, and drained of their water. A quarter of the species on the planet are headed toward extinction. Compounding these effects, the earth’s climate is being destabilized by emissions of greenhouse gases.

Driving this fiasco are casino economics, cheater economics, and futureless economics. It’s not a pretty picture. Why can’t we do better? What can we do about it? Are the powerful leaders of the G-8 nations gathered here going to provide the solutions?

Occupy Wall Street Holds First Feminist General Assembly

“What took so long?” was the general sentiment among those gathered in Washington Square Park in Manhattan last night for Occupy Wall Street’s first ever Feminist General Assembly.
Despite being woefully overdue, May 17 was a beautiful and significant night: Not only was it the eight-month anniversary of our movement, it was also the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia and the 181st anniversary of the First Women’s Anti-Slavery Convention. This intersection of issues created a perfect backdrop for discussing the challenges and importance of feminism to Occupy Wall Street-a movement often criticized for being stubbornly multi-issue.

I arrived to find a diverse crowd of around 300 people. Members of the Occupy Wall Street women’s caucus, Women Occupying Wall Street (WOW), were giving a shout of solidarity to Occupy Maine. The people of Lafayette, Ind.; Bend and Portland, Ore.; Chicago and a handful of other cities were also holding feminist GAs. The Raging Grannies sang “Evolution is too slow, revolution’s the way to go!” and things were off to a raucous start. I pitched in with a paintbrush to help record the shared values we were brainstorming-”Trust!” “Creativity!” “Justice!” “Humor!”-and, ignoring my friend’s smirk, embraced the consciousness-raising exercise as though I were encountering it for the first time. After focusing almost exclusively on women’s organizing for the first six months of Occupy Wall Street (OWS), I was happy for the chance to just participate. More importantly, I was happy to see so many new leaders and so many of the elusive “unfamiliar faces” we had spent meeting after meeting trying to attract to the movement.

Occupy Denver marches to support 25 peers at NATO Summit

The mass protest against the weekend’s North American Treaty Organization summit might be 1,000 miles from Denver, but its ties to the city are represented by at least 25 Occupy Denver protesters who traveled to attend. And when Occupy Wall Street placed a call for national action this weekend, the local branch responded with an anti-NATO march down the 16th Street Mall. Tonight, on the summit’s final day, the group will continue its efforts with a candlelight vigil.

As Occupy Denver rallied downtown for two hours last night, several of the group’s peers in protest checked in from Chicago over the phone. Reports carried stories of violence and several interactions with the police, which served to further spur the fifty or so marchers through the city. So far, the Chicago Police Department has reported fewer than two dozen arrests total so far, and many articles focus on the peacefulness of protests.

City of Sacramento loses case against Occupy Sacramento protester

A Superior Court Judge ruled today the city of Sacramento cannot impose administrative penalties to an Occupy Sacramento member who allegedly violated the city’s curfew laws last year at Cesar Chavez Plaza across from City Hall.

Superior Court Judge Michael P. Kenny ruled that the city could not impose $100 administrative penalties on the occupy protester Katy Coke after the county district attorneys office declined to prosecute her on criminal charges.

Coke was arrested along with more than 100 other peaceful Occupy Sacramento protesters who have been arrested since October.

Social media empowers student protests in Montreal

If the Internet is an ideological front in the fight over tuition fees, then the students unarguably have the edge. As the world has seen with other youth-led revolts, from the Arab Spring to the Occupy movement, tech-savvy students in Quebec have been quick to bypass the mainstream media and tell their own stories online.

The most popular YouTube videos about the movement are supportive of students or critical of police actions. The most influential Twitter users are on the side of the red squares. On Facebook, much of what goes viral is likewise pro-student.

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