Occupational Hazards: Bloody Week in ReviewJuxtapoz // Thursday, 17 Nov 2011
This week, occupations around the country faced a dramatic surge in Police violence against demonstrators. Dorli Rainey, a 84-year old self-described "Old Lady in combat boots" from Occupy Seattle stares directly at the camera with a mixture of pepper spray and pepper-spray fighting ointment running down her face. She recovered shortly thereafter, and has since given interviews with major media outlets. This picture, taken by photojournalist Joshua Trujillo, says a thousand words about Seattle PD's response to its Occupy movement, none of them complimentary. More Occupy Seattle video here: youtube.com/watch?v=eDu0HKyzQIU.
Seattle was not the only site of violence this week. In Chapel Hill, a squat at an abandoned car dealership was broken up by policemen in paramilitary gear with loaded weapons drawn. Journalists present were detained and photographed.
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Occupations at college campuses have been dealt with no less brutally. Protesters at the board of trustees meeting at the Chancellor's Office in Long Beach were dealt with violently; one woman at :46 into the video pepper-sprayed and then shoved from behind by an officer: youtube.com/watch?v=vrBFAAf8m88.
Occupy UC Berkeley was raided again in the wee hours this morning, tents, rugs, banners and artwork all removed. This came after Tuesday's school-wide strike & day of action, a mammoth gathering of tens of thousands which followed a day of Open University and featured Mario Savio's family members and former US Secretary of Labor Robert Reich. Record crowds packed Sproul Plaza to participate in the General Assembly and hear the speakers, at which Occupation of Sproul was approved by 88.5% of participants. There is another General Assembly today on Sproul at 5 PM to discuss next steps in the face of this morning's raid.
A group of activists overran a Bank of America branch in San Francisco's Financial District yesterday. Video here: youtube.com/watch?v=xQWGfXZHdeY. Activists stormed the branch and occupied it around 2pm, setting up this tent and swarming the sidewalk around the branch until SFPD broke up the proceedings after 4PM, arresting 95 protesters in the process.
Lastly, Occupy Wall Street's Day of Action in NYC is getting bloody, with Police seeking to make bloody examples of protesters they have singled out as disruptive. 175 protesters arrested and counting, with 7 reported police injuries and countless protester injuries. This all comes in the wake of a controversial early Tuesday morning raid on Zuccotti park, the epicenter of the Occupy Wall Street movement, in which NYPD deliberately blocked journalists from reporting on events in the Park and protesters were beaten and arrested en masse. More on this story as it unfolds.