- Mint Press News - http://www.mintpressnews.com -
Occupy Springs Forward with Renewed Protests and Trainings
Posted By Janessa Schilmoeller On April 10, 2012 @ 9:15 am In Nation,News | 2 Comments
(MintPress)-The much anticipated American Spring seems to have arrived this weekend, with fresh protests erupting across the country including some less publicized activities in Chicago and Minnesota, affirming Occupy protesters’ predictions that the coming of spring would bring a renewed energy to the movement’s efforts to achieve social and economic justice in the United States. Easter weekend protests are the budding of an eventful season of “Spring Training” for Occupy protesters, expected to reach full bloom in May.
Over the weekend, protesters marched and rallied across Chicago in what organizers have called the kickoff of “Chicago Spring.” In a citywide day of action, protesters participated in events across 13 neighborhoods. Over 25 events were scheduled throughout the day.
Rachael Perrota, Occupy Chicago Press Committee, told the Occupied Chicago Tribune prior to the events that “Saturday is already a success. The diverse communities and groups participating, and the internal organizing structure that grew around A7 [April 7], will be with us, and strengthened by this day of action, long after NATO has come and gone.”
A writer for the Occupied Chicago Tribune viewed the kickoff day as a success, saying, “There were more people, and more of a sense of constructive focus, than at some actions I’ve attended downtown in the last couple of months.” The Chicago Police Department was also reported to have taken a more hands-off approach over the weekend.
Several events are already planned throughout the Chicago Spring, according to the group’s website. Upcoming events include MAYDAY!, part of a nationwide call for workers to protest on May 1st, and a series of meetings and workshops leading up to the anticipated NATO/G8 protests beginning in Chicago on May 19th.
While police officers stayed on the sidelines in Chicago over the weekend, they were front and center in Minneapolis, where 12 Occupy MN protesters were arrested and police brutality was caught on tape. Occupy MN protesters were evicted from Peavey Plaza in downtown Minneapolis on Saturday.
The group unsuccessfully attempted to re-occupy Peavey Park and instead began marching down Nicollet Mall, where mounted police officers reportedly assaulted protesters and 12 individuals were arrested. A local photojournalist is among those who experienced police brutality when an officer pushed him out of the way, forcing his camera to fall to the ground. The events were captured on a protester’s camera.
Minneapolis Police Chief Tim Dolan released a written statement about the incident, saying, “We are reviewing and we have an open investigation. At this time, we do not have even preliminary investigative results on this incident. The Minneapolis Police Department will not support unjustified uses of force.”
Occupy MN held an emergency rally at Minneapolis City Hall on Monday to respond to the eviction and arrest of a dozen people over the weekend. “We came here to ask [Mayor RT Ryback] what the deal is,” said Nathan Thompson, a member of Occupy MN’s Wealthy Human Village project, an environmental justice working group. “We weren’t doing anything but demonstrating peacefully,” Thompson said to MintPress.
Minneapolis Mayor Ryback was not present at the rally, but the group was able to schedule a meeting with him for later in the week. The group will meet with Mayor Rybak on Tuesday afternoon to demand that he make amends for the police brutality and allow occupiers to exercise their right to demonstrate peacefully in public spaces.
Members of OccupyPhilly also met opposition from police officers on the six month anniversary since Occupying next to City Hall when Occupy Philadelphia set up a new camp on Independence Mall on Saturday. Park rangers eventually requested the group obtain a permit to continue protesting. However, OccupyPhilly responded on Facebook claiming the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was their permit.
Occupy protesters were evicted Sunday evening, and the group relocated to the Wells Fargo on Market Street for a campout. The group struck back Monday with a wide range of activities including a rally for security officers’ working rights, picketing at Temple University regarding discriminatory hiring policies, a Trayvon Martin townhall meeting, and attempts to re-occupy Independence Mall.
Independence Hall, located on the mall, is the planned location for a National General Assembly this July, hosted by the 99% Declaration Working Group, a splinter of the Occupy movement, which will serve as a 21st century Continental Congress and has sparked much controversy among Occupy supporters.
The Occupy movement’s plan to #TaketheSpring is taking shape in other states as well in what has been dubbed, the 99 Percent Spring. For Occupiers, Spring training will consist of over 900 training sessions in 30 cities between April 9th and April 15th with the goal of providing 100,000 activists with direct-action, peaceful protest techniques.
“We have a lot of rights people don’t know about,” said Jan Nye, 65, a member of Occupy MN with a history of involvement in direct action activities. Nye is excited about the teach-ins and trainings offered by Occupy. “If you know your rights, you can defend your rights…you can build your lawsuits like Melissa Hill,” Nye told MintPress, referring to the first Occupy MN protester arrested over the weekend who has previously filed and won a lawsuit and is pursuing others.
The trainings fall less than a month before International Workers’ Day, May 1st, when Occupy supporters are encouraged to take part in a global People’s General Strike in protest against the corruption of the worldwide marketplace and in solidarity with laborers.
Article printed from Mint Press News: http://www.mintpressnews.com
URL to article: http://www.mintpressnews.com/occupy-springs-forward-with-renewed-protests-and-trainings/
Copyright © 2012 MintPress. All rights reserved.