Latest developments in the Occupy protests

AP News

11/6/2011 11:09:54 AM - AP News

Some of the latest developments in the Occupy protests:

GEORGIA

Police arrested 20 people after an Occupy Atlanta protest rally in a city park spilled onto the streets and officers converged on them on motorcycles, riding horseback and in riot gear.

A crowd of several hundred protesters had gathered at Woodruff Park, the scene of about 50 arrests of demonstrators last month, and set up tents. Organizers had said they planned to stay overnight despite warnings from the mayor and police that anyone there past the 11 p.m. closing would be arrested.

While most protesters left the park, a few people stayed behind. And as demonstrators poured onto Peachtree Street and downtown, a police officer on a motorcycle drove into the crowd, sparking a confrontation between officers and protesters that turned tense at times.

Police issued a statement early Sunday saying 19 people who either refused to leave the park after the 11 p.m. closing time or blocked nearby roads were arrested. The statement also said another person accused of assaulting a motorcycle officer on patrol was arrested and charged with aggravated assault and obstruction.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

Police and Occupy DC protesters are offering conflicting accounts about a weekend incident in which a motorist struck three protesters near a downtown demonstration.

Police said Saturday that a driver will not be charged for striking the three people Friday evening.

Assistant Police Chief Lamar Greene said at a Saturday evening press conference that police concluded from talking to two witnesses that the collision was unavoidable.

But Heidi Sippel said that she, her 13-year-old son and her wife Brandy Sippel were taking part in the demonstration when a silver Lexus sped toward them. The driver slowed down, threw up his hands in apparent frustration and then drove forward, hitting them, she said. Brandy Sippel, who is six months pregnant, was grazed by the car's rearview mirror. Heidi Sippel said she and her son were both hit by the front of the car.

A man identified in a police report as the vehicle driver, Shawn Valentine of Clinton, Maryland, said he was at work when reached by telephone Saturday night and could not speak about the incident.

HAWAII

Police arrested roughly a half dozen protesters after organizers of the Occupy Honolulu movement attempted to establish an encampment at a local park.

Some 20 police officers arrived late Saturday at the city's Thomas Square. Members of Occupy Honolulu had said earlier Saturday that they planned to begin camping at the park starting at its 10 p.m. closing time. About 40 protesters were gathered at the site when authorities began telling them to leave.

A number of those arrested had refused to leave when asked.

Honolulu organizers said they also stood "in solidarity" with the homeless who are being forced from the streets and parks as the city prepares this week to host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.

OREGON

Portland Police Bureau chief Mike Reese has told members of Occupy Portland that concerns about their security in camp and on marches are warranted, but says protesters must work more closely with police.

The meeting between Reese and members of the protest was held after a 30-year-old man was charged with shoving a police officer into a moving bus during a downtown march on Wednesday.

Organizers say that it's difficult to predict how large marches will become or where they will go. The movement bills itself as leaderless, making it more difficult for police to communicate directly with people making decisions.

Organizers told Reese that several marchers were threatened with pepper spray and batons on Wednesday for failing to comply with police orders.

Reese responded that his officers acted appropriately.

OHIO

The Occupy Wall Street movement has spurred demonstrators in Cincinnati to form their own political party.

Spokesman Tyrone Givens tells The Associated Press that he and other Cincinnati-based protesters traveled to New York's Occupy site to pitch the idea. He says the party is vetting six potential candidates for local office from Ohio, New York and Kentucky.

The party's website lists a 10-point platform, with items including reversing the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision granting corporations the right to spend an unlimited amount of money on political campaigns, limiting the influence of lobbyists and prosecuting those responsible for the recent recession.

Givens says the ultimate goal is to elect members of the "Occupation Party" to Congress.

CALIFORNIA

Several hundred protesters marched through the financial district in Los Angeles to protest the banking industry as part of "Bank Transfer Day," a grassroots movement that has been championed by the Occupy Wall Street protests.

Organizer Jacob Hay says that before Saturday's march, several dozen people gathered at California Plaza for an en masse cancellation of their accounts at Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Chase and other large banks in favor of credit unions and smaller institutions.

The march ended with a teach-in by former labor secretary Robert Reich.

Meanwhile, a downtown Oakland branch of Wells Fargo bank closed its doors for the day Saturday as immigrant rights protesters crowded the entrance to condemn the bank's ties to private companies that run immigrant detention centers.

More than 100 protesters marched a block from the Occupy Oakland encampment to the bank branch Saturday morning. A few protesters briefly tussled with bank security guards who stood in front of the locked entrance. Police were on the scene but made no arrests.

A handful of customers stuck inside when protesters converged were escorted out the back, said Jim Foley, Wells Fargo's regional president.

INDIANA

Dozens of anti-Wall Street protesters marched Saturday through downtown Indianapolis, chanting slogans and holding signs berating the nation's big banks after a rally where they urged people to transfer their money to local banks and credit unions.

About 80 protesters marched from the Indiana Statehouse to Monument Circle, where they stopped outside two banks and loudly chanted "This is democracy in action!" before continuing.

IDAHO

Fifteen campers set up tents Saturday at the Old Ada County Courthouse lawn in downtown Boise with some planning to stay for as long as they can.

The Idaho Statesman reports that the protesters met with state officials earlier in the week and agreed to ground rules limiting the number of campers to 15 until more services are put in place.

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CANADA

A woman at the Occupy Vancouver camp died Saturday after being discovered in an "unresponsive" condition, police say. A Canadian protest organizer said it appeared to be due to a drug overdose.

The cause of death has not been determined but there is no evidence to indicate foul play, police said.

The woman in her 20s was found in a tent by another protester. Paramedics took her to a hospital where she was pronounced dead, Vancouver police said in a statement.

Lauren Gill, an organizer at the camp, said the death highlights the need for more addiction services because drugs are such a big issue in the city.

BRITAIN

About 200 protesters marched to Parliament on Guy Fawkes Day, the annual commemoration of the English revolutionary who tried to blow up the building in the 17th century.

Many of Saturday's protesters in London were wearing a grinning, somewhat sinister mask of Guy Fawkes that has become an icon of the Occupy Movement around the world. The rally was largely peaceful, but the group was kept from getting close to Parliament by a heavy police presence.

Some activists said that donning the masks is a way of reminding governments that authority can be challenged by the masses. "I think people are giving a polite nod to a kind of violent radicalism," said Laurie Penny, a blogger and frequent protester.

Many of the demonstrators had marched from St. Paul's Cathedral in London, where the Occupy movement has set up camp for weeks to protest social inequality and the excesses of the banking industry. Two protesters were arrested for suspected criminal damage and unlawful protest, police said.

Saturday's rally coincided with Guy Fawkes' Day, which is celebrated every year in Britain on Nov. 5 to mark the failure of the plot hatched by Fawkes and 12 other conspirators to destroy Parliament with explosives in 1605, assassinate King James I and install a Catholic monarch in the botched "Gunpowder Plot."