We were raided here in Salt Lake City at the same time. Interesting that the attacks in Denver, SLC, Portland and St Louis were all coordinated and
were conducted in the name of "public safety" (like the gheto raids on the Jews by the Nazis). They actually waited until after
Mayor Becker was granting 24 hour permits for Occupy to camp in the park. The mayor went to Arizona and Chief Burbank decided to evict the movement
while he was gone, probably an attempt to save face on the part of the mayor.
Interestingly enough, the officers removing the body of the dead homeless man referred to him as a “bumsicle”. SLC has had over 100 weather
related homeless deaths since 2009, nothing new here on the Wasatch Front. The cops are obviously used to the term, almost sounds endearing.
Statements made to local news stations, that didn’t make the newscast, were a bit frightening actually. Burbank answered questions about the
Constitutionality of the eviction by stating that the freedom of speech and assembly were rights guaranteed by the Constitution, but government, in
this case Chief Burbank, had the right to determine where, when and duration… holy #…
He stated he was interested in helping Occupy “relocate” and was willing to “accommodate’ their wishes to be arrested if necessary.
The militarized police response was unbelievable. Two court services busses, two mobile command centers, 25-30 marked and unmarked police cruisers,
several ambulances, two firetrucks, a K9 unit, two dump trucks, a front end loader, several large police SUVs a dozen city clean up crew members and
about 150 officers, some with visible riot gear. Not to mention the undercover officers identified in the park by Occupy members. Homeless advocates
observed several intoxicated individuals being dropped off at the park via police cruiser about an hour prior to the attack. Two of these people were
among those arrested.
Police came looking for a fight and met a peaceful movement instead. They stood around not quite knowing what to do. Inside sources reported that the
jail had been on lockdown and was anticipating “hundreds” of arrests. The 16 arrested, excluding the drunks, were volunteers that had been
designated “arrestable” in the general assembly prior to the attack. They were booked and released through pretrial services because none of them
had any prior offenses. Hmmmmmmmm.
Occupy arranged to greet the arrestees and transport them to shelter upon release. All of them were in the general assembly yesterday, at the same
park, and participated in the reorganized agenda. Each was charged with curfew violations and ticketed to the tune of $280 each. Occupy is taking up
collections to pay the fines. We are seeking legal action against the Unified Police Department through the ACLU.
This may have, ironically, been just what the movement needed. We were starting to protest and march less because we were worried that our gear would
be ransacked by the homeless when we were out. We were spending a great deal of effort policing the homeless and dealing with the police presence
their constant fights, assaults and drug and alcohol use brought to the camp. Being “liberated” from Pioneer Park has actually allowed us to
concentrate our efforts where they will do some good.
Chief Burbank spoke to the media about “tents filled with human excrement, urine and biohazards”…I was in front of the bulldozer pulling tents
out of the way and throwing trash in the dump truck, I was only able to see one sad little tent on the edge next to the tennis courts that actually
had a turd in it and a bottle of what looked like urine. I didn’t see the drug paraphernalia he was inferring. The rest of the tents that were being
thrown away belonged to the homeless cadre that had abandoned them earlier. The Occupy folks had dismantled the kitchen and moved their gear to
storage and were in the process of salvaging the gear that had been collectively purchased and donated to the homeless when the police arrived and
began the assault.
I was there two or three hours prior and stayed until they asked the lingerers to leave. To their credit, the Unified Police officers conducted
themselves, for the most part, with professionalism and dignity. There were a few that were obviously heckling or verbally harassing the protesters,
but that was a rarity. Most looked a bit confused when things didn’t get violent. They are trained for physical resistance, not cooperation.
Occupy is lean and mean and has already met and determined the next course of action. We are sending representatives to neighboring Occupy movements
and garnishing solidarity nationwide for concerted efforts. Things are beginning to get serious and the recent actions on the part of TPTB have only
shown us that we are absolutel