Archive for October 16th, 2011
Protesters in Frankfurt and London who were inspired by the ongoing “Occupy Wall Street” demonstration in New York City have vowed to remain encamped until something is done about the world’s financial system and economic injustice. Those upset with corporate greed launched worldwide street demonstrations Saturday following America’s “Occupy Wall Street” and Spain’s “Indignant” demonstrations.
Dr. Cornel West, a well-known author and activist who has recently lent his support to the Occupy Wall Street movement, was one of nineteen people arrested on Sunday while protesting against corporate influence in politics on the steps of the Supreme Court in Washington, DC.
According to the Associated Press, West had joined the protesters after attending the dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the National Mall earlier in the day.
Daily Kos diarist mimi further explains, “At 2 pm today Dr. Cornel West appeared at Freedom Plaza in Washington DC and gave a spicy, fun and great agitating speech full of love, wit and wisdom. I would say there were around 250 – 300 people in the audience. After the speech he decided spontaneously to march to the Supreme Court. This march was not planned, at least most of the audience had no idea that this would happen.”
She adds that “in the speech he already jokingly said he has come today to Freedom Plaza and to Washington DC, because he finally wanted to get arrested in DC to make the sacrifice Martin Luther King was expecting from him in the fight for justice and freedom.”
As described at the October2011.org website, “The October2011.org Movement that is occupying Freedom Plaza, led an impromptu march of 250 people up Pennsylvania Avenue to the U.S.Supreme Court where Dr. Cornel West climbed on the steps of the Supreme Court and denounced court decisions that have produced money-based elections that empower corporations. Dr. West was holding a sign that said ‘Poverty is the Greatest Violence of All.’ He was arrested because holding political signs on the Supreme Court steps is illegal.”
A press release issued by the Movement further states, “It is rumored that he will be held overnight in jail, as the courts are worried that he will not show up in the morning. Seems a little crazy to us, but that is what we are hearing.”
When thousands of Occupy Wall Street protesters marched north to Times Square on Saturday, the New York Police Department was quick to respond with barricades, horses, and arrests.
Ryan Devereaux, a reporter with Democracy Now! who accompanied the march, described the police deployment of barricades and kettling nets and the subsequent escalation of tensions in a series of tweets. At 6:21 pm, he tweeted, apparently with reference to a police officer, “He then says, ‘It’s gonna get ugly,’ as he announces they will now be pushing the line back.”
A minute later, he added, “They’re using the horses to push us back. People scream, ‘You’re gonna kill somebody!’ ‘There’s no room!’ They’re right!” And shortly after that, “A horse just went down. Crowd is going wild. NYPD says anyone near barricade is going to jail. This is is inexcusable.”
A few hours later, Devereaux was able to expand on his account, noting, “I heard a NYPD white shirt announce by megaphone ‘That horse is gonna hurt’” and “That was after the horse had crossed the line where the barricade was, before it went to down. People were outraged and terrified.”
Protesters responded to the police actions by shouting, “Who are you protecting?” and “Go fight crime!”
HONG KONG — Protesters across the Asia-Pacific region Saturday joined worldwide demonstrations inspired by the “Occupy Wall Street” and “Indignants” movements.
Rallies are planned for Saturday in more than 950 cities across 82 countries in Europe, North America, Latin America, Asia and Africa in a show of power by a movement born on May 15 when a rally in Madrid’s central square of Puerta del Sol sparked a protest that spread nationwide, then to other countries.
Around 500 people gathered in the heart of Hong Kong’s financial district to express their anger at the inequities and excesses of free-market capitalism, while demonstrators in Tokyo also voiced fury at the Fukushima nuclear accident.
Wong Weng-chi, a demonstrator from a group calling themselves “Left 21″, said the “Occupy Central” rally in Hong Kong was more than just an act of solidarity with the Wall Street protest, which began in September.
“Hong Kong is a key financial hub in Asia, it is a base that serves many multinational financial institutions. It is a base that serves many capitalists and the upper class to monopolise the wealth,” he told AFP.
Hong Kong, a city of seven million people, is known for its super-rich tycoons, low taxes and teeming shopping districts.
But it is also a case study in economic inequality, with thousands of low-income residents forced to live in “cage” accommodation because of the skyrocketing cost of housing fuelled by wealthy property speculators.
Around 600 demonstrators in Sydney set up camp outside Australia’s central bank. Corporate greed, the political influence of big firms, climate change and the plight of refugees and Aboriginal Australians were repeatedly raised as issues.
In Tokyo, around 100 protesters marched through the streets, shouting “Occupy Tokyo!”. They added anti-nuclear slogans as they passed the offices of Tokyo Electric Power Co, the operator of the stricken Fukushima plant.
CHICAGO — Chicago police arrested about 175 protesters early Sunday in an operation to clear the city’s Grant Park of demonstrators camping out in protest against corporate greed, police said.
A police department spokesman said the “Occupy Chicago” protesters were given several warnings to leave the park before officers moved in and began hauling them away.
“They were in park property after hours,” said Officer Robert Perez. “There is a municipal ordinance that nobody is allowed in the park after 11 pm.”
He said about 175 people were arrested and taken to a district police station for processing. Typically people arrested for violating city ordinances are then released under their own signature unless they are wanted for other offenses, he said.
The Chicago Tribune said protesters, who had formed a human chain and were seated on the ground when the police moved in, were cheering as they were hauled away in police paddy wagons and city buses.
About 150 other protesters continued the demonstration from across the street on Michigan Avenue, it reported.
At one point, protesters began chanting “the whole world is watching,” evoking a now famous cry that went up during a violent confrontation between protesters and police at Grant Park during the 1968 Democratic Convention.
The current protests are an offshoot of the Occupy Wall Street protests which began in lower Manhattan but have since spread to other cities.