Occupy D.C.

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Occupy D.C.
Part of the Occupy movement
Occupy DC Oct 9, 2011 march.jpg
Occupy DC march of October 9, 2011
Date October 1, 2011
Location Washington, D.C., District of Columbia
Causes
Methods
Parties to the civil conflict
  • U.S. Park Police
  • Metropolitan Police Department (D.C.)
Lead figures
No Central Leadership
  • Unknown
Arrests and injuries
Injuries
Arrested 135+[5][6][7][4][8]

Occupy D.C. was an occupation of public space in Washington, D.C.[9] based at McPherson Square and connected to the Occupy movements that sprung up across the United States in Fall 2011. The group had been demonstrating in McPherson Square since October 1, 2011, and in Freedom Plaza since October 6. Despite crackdowns on other Occupy projects across the country, federal authorities claimed on November 15 that they have no plans to clear McPherson Square Park. The National Park Service decided against eviction after meeting with activists and discussing health and safety conditions.[10]

As of January 31, 2012, the occupiers had remained in McPherson Square and Freedom Plaza, despite the National Park Service's ban, which had gone into effect at 12pm on January 30, 2012. Federal judge James Boasberg heard arguments on January 31, 2012 to determine whether or not to uphold the ban.[11]

According to occupyfreedomplaza.org,[12] the movement contends that "money is not speech, corporations are not people, only people have Constitutional rights," demanding the shift of power from the wealthiest 1% of Americans to the underrepresented 99%.[9] The "Declaration of Occupy D.C.", released by the General Assembly of Occupy D.C. on November 30, 2011, provides a list of the group's grievances.[13]

Timeline[edit]

The following is a timeline of Occupy D.C. events and activity.

  • October 16, 2011: Dr. Cornel West, activist and Princeton University professor, was arrested along with 18 other people while protesting on the Supreme Court steps.[5]
  • October 18, 2011: Harvard professor Lawrence Lessig visited McPherson Square to speak about government corruption and propose ideas on how to unite people to address it as a growing problem in the U.S.
  • October 20, 2011: Occupy D.C. holds a protest at Union Station to protest against a Walmart event .[14][15]
  • October 29, 2011: Students from Howard University joined the Occupy D.C. protesters with the goal of bringing more racial diversity to the protest.[16]
  • November 4, 2011: Occupy D.C. held a protest at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center where political advocacy group Americans for Prosperity held their annual Defending the American Dream Summit, attended by conservative politicians and activists. Protesters blocked exits to the convention center and traffic at intersections around the center.[17] Four protesters were struck by a vehicle while participating in the protest.[1] According to protesters, the vehicle sped up before it deliberately hit the protesters in two separate incidents minutes apart.[18] According to police, the protesters jumped in front of the vehicle.[1] The driver of the vehicle was not cited by police because he had had a green light at the time.[2] The police have opened an investigation into the incident.[19] A 78-year-old woman was knocked down while trying to get around an Occupy blockade, The Washington Examiner reported.[20]
  • November 19, 2011: Around 200 demonstrators entered or gathered around the city-owned Franklin School, a former homeless shelter and historical building on 13th and K streets. They were protesting plans by City officials to have the building privately developed, wanting it to remain public and possibly reopen as a homeless shelter. Louis P. Cannon, chief of D.C. Protective Services Police Department, stated that 13 people were arrested and charged with unlawful entry, a misdemeanor.[6]
  • November 22, 2011: a group of protesters complete their march from Occupy Wall Street to Washington, D.C.[21][22]
  • December 4, 2011: After a confrontation with the police, 31 protesters were arrested after refusing to take down and dismount from an unfinished wooden building they had built for the winter. Police claimed that the structure was dangerous, and it was ultimately dismantled despite claims by the protesters that the structure was safe. According to the Washington Post this event was the "testiest [one] since the encampment began some months ago."[7]
  • December 7, 2011: A march on K Street, Washington's D.C.'s lobbying corridor, drew protesters from around the country and led to the arrest of 62 people, one for allegedly assaulting a police officer, and the other 61 for obstructing a public highway.[4]
  • December 27, 2011: The two original organizers of the Freedom Plaza occupation divorce themselves from the occupation, rejecting the general assembly's leaderless, consensus decision making process. They deny the general assembly control over the original website and of the donated funds.
  • January 17, 2012: A rally and occupation of the United States Capitol, Washington's D.C.'s legislative body and the meeting place of the United States Senate and House of Representatives. The House members were to be returning on their first session of the new year. Thousands of protesters from around the country planned on attending and taking their message to Congress[23] Occupy Congress started at 9:00 AM as a march of McPherson Square and Freedom Square Occupy D.C. participants to the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol and then a march to the various Senate buildings for the participants to speak to their respective Senate staff over issues such as SOPA, NDAA, Citizens United. At around 8:30 PM, a group estimated to have included 1,000 to 1,500 people marched in Washington D.C. streets from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol to the U.S. Supreme Court, where people filled up all the stairs leading up to the front doors of the building. The march then continued all the way to the front of the White House where at one point, someone threw a smoke bomb over the fence, causing a lock down to occur. The march then travelled all the way back to the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol.
  • January 30, 2012 - Eviction notices distributed by police to Occupy DC issue a noon deadline. Unarmed man filmed being tasered by police - was subsequently arrested.[3][24]
  • January 31, 2012-deadline passes on eviction, however the police have not taken to action to remove the protesters.[25] Occupy DC protesters erected a big tent, dubbed "The Tent of Dreams",[26] over Gen. McPherson's statue at McPherson square.[27]
  • Feb 4, 2012- Police raid and cordon off sections of the park in order to allow sanitation workers to remove hazardous materials and tents not in compliance with the ban on camping,[28][29] arresting 11[8] and leaving around 15 tents.[30]
  • Jun 10, 2012: Occupy DC protesters remove remaining tents from McPherson Square, stating that protests will continue.[31]

Public health issues[edit]

The rat population reportedly "exploded" around the Occupy D.C. camps at Freedom Plaza and McPherson Square after the protestors' arrival.[32] Washington D.C. Department of Health director Mohammad Akhter inspected the camps and said, "it’s no different than refugee camps".[33]

Links to other protests, campaigns and movements[edit]

Many members of Occupy D.C. are campaigning for a "National Peace Memorial" to be set up in Lafayette Square to commemorate the 30-year White House Peace Vigil.[34]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Gowen, Annie; Sieff, Kevin (November 5, 2011). "Dueling versions between D.C. police, protesters at convention center". The Washington Post. 
  2. ^ a b Craig, Tim; Williams, Clarence (November 5, 2011). "Occupy D.C. protesters block streets near convention center], Washington Post". The Washington Post. 
  3. ^ a b Stun gun vs Occupy DC: Cops tase protester in pyjamas. Youtube. 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c Noble, Andrea (7 December 2011). "Occupy protesters block K Street; 62 arrested". The Washington Times. Retrieved 11 December 2011. 
  5. ^ a b "Cornel West arrested at Supreme Court protest". CBS News. 16 October 2011. Retrieved 19 October 2011. 
  6. ^ a b Craig, Tim (19 November 2011). "Police arrest 13 as Occupy D.C. supporters take over Franklin School building". Washington Post. Retrieved 21 November 2011. 
  7. ^ a b "Clash at Occupy DC camp could alter tenor of largely peaceful relations with police". Washington Post Local. December 5, 2011. Retrieved December 7, 2011. 
  8. ^ a b "11 arrested at Occupy D.C. site". USA Today. February 5, 2012. Retrieved February 5, 2012. 
  9. ^ a b "What is Occupy D.C.?". Occupy DC. Retrieved 17 October 2011. 
  10. ^ Tracy, Ryan (15 November 2011). "Occupy DC Allowed to Keep On Occupying D.C. Park". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 16 November 2011. 
  11. ^ "Occupy DC Tries to Save off Eviction in Court". ABC News. January 31, 2012. 
  12. ^ Mike-Check! | Occupy Freedom of the Press
  13. ^ "Occupy DC Declaration Is Released As Protest Enters 3rd Month". December 1, 2011. 
  14. ^ "Occupy DC, other protesters demonstrate against Wal-Mart in Union Station". Washington Post. 20 October 2011. Retrieved 20 October 2011. 
  15. ^ "Occupy DC swarms Union Station, releases balloons to protest event featuring Wal-Mart’s chairman". The Daily Caller. 20 October 2011. Retrieved 20 October 2011. 
  16. ^ "Howard University Helping Occupy D.C.". NBC Washington. 28 October 2011. Retrieved 1 November 2011. 
  17. ^ Hundreds of Occupy D.C. Protesters Block Conservatives From Leaving Summit, theblaze.com, November 5, 2011
  18. ^ [1][dead link]
  19. ^ "Police to ‘adjust tactics’ for dealing with Occupy D.C. protesters, chief says". The Washington Post. 8 November 2011. 
  20. ^ McCabe, Scott (November 7, 2011). "Occupy DC becoming increasingly violent, police say." Washington Examiner.
  21. ^ Martin Austermuhle (November 22, 2011). "Occupy Marchers Arrive in D.C. After 240-Mile Trek". DCist. 
  22. ^ Elizabeth Flock (22 November 2011). "Occupy march from Zuccotti Park to D.C.: My trip with the protesters". The Washington Post. 
  23. ^ Goodale, Gloria (16 January 2012). "Occupy Congress attempts to get lawmakers attention". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 16 January 2012. 
  24. ^ "DC Occupier Witness: Using Taser was Unnecessary". CNN. January 30, 2012. 
  25. ^ Harrington, Elizabeth (31 January 2012). "Police Take No Action to Enforce No-Camping Rule at Occupy D.C. Location". CNSNews. Retrieved 31 January 2012. 
  26. ^ http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/occupy-dc-protesters-sleep-under-tent-of-dreams-defy-no-camping-rules/2012/01/31/gIQAxaRDgQ_story.html.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  27. ^ "As deadline passes, Occupy DC defy Park Police". CNN. January 31, 2012. Retrieved January 31, 2012. 
  28. ^ Annie Gowen (February 4, 2012). "Occupy D.C. camp raided by police". The Washington Post. 
  29. ^ Newcomb, Alyssa (February 4, 2012). "Occupy DC: Police Raid Camp, Kicking Protesters Out "Violently"". ABC News. Retrieved February 5, 2012. 
  30. ^ Austermuhle, Martin (February 5, 2012). "McPherson Square, the Morning After". dcist. Retrieved February 5, 2012. 
  31. ^ "Occupy DC clears out of McPherson Square". June 11, 2012. 
  32. ^ "Occupy DC Rat Camp: Health Inspector Concerned About McPherson Square Rodents". Huffington Post. January 9, 2012. Retrieved February 16, 2012. 
  33. ^ Gowen, Annie (January 9, 2012). "City: Rat population has ‘exploded’ around Occupy D.C. camps". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 16, 2012. 
  34. ^ Arin Greenwood (23 January 2012). "Occupy Group In D.C. Calls For Creation Of 'National Peace Memorial'". The Huffington Post.