Latest developments in the Occupy protests

AP News
Posted: Nov 23, 2011 5:01 PM
Latest developments in the Occupy protests


During the first two months of the nationwide Occupy protests, the movement that is demanding more out of the wealthiest Americans cost local taxpayers at least $13 million in police overtime and other municipal services, according to a survey by The Associated Press.

The heaviest financial burden has fallen upon law enforcement agencies tasked with monitoring marches and evicting protesters from outdoor camps. And the steepest costs by far piled up in New York City and Oakland, Calif., where police clashed with protesters on several occasions.

The AP gathered figures from government agencies in 18 cities with active protests and focused on costs through Nov. 15, the day protesters were evicted from New York City's Zuccotti Park, where the protests began Sept. 17 before spreading nationwide. The survey did not attempt to tally the price of all protests but provides a glimpse of costs to cities large and small.

Broken down city by city, the numbers are more or less in line with the cost of policing major public events and emergencies. In Los Angeles, for example, the Michael Jackson memorial concert cost the city $1.4 million. And Atlanta spent several million dollars after a major snow and ice storm this year.


Occupy Wall Street has a benefit album planned with Jackson Browne, Third Eye Blind, Crosby & Nash, Devo, Lucinda Williams and even some of those drummers who kept an incessant beat at Manhattan's Zuccotti Park.

Participants in the protest movement said Wednesday that "Occupy This Album," which will be available sometime this winter, will also feature DJ Logic, Ladytron, Warren Haynes, Toots and the Maytals, Mike Limbaud, Aeroplane Pageant, Yo La Tengo and others.

Activist filmmaker Michael Moore is also planning to sing.

Jason Samel, a musician who is putting together the disc, said the goal is to raise $1 million to $2 million to help fuel the movement.


Protesters want shoppers to occupy something besides door-buster sales and crowded mall parking lots on Black Friday.

Some don't want people to shop at all. Others just want to divert shoppers from big chains and giant shopping malls to local mom-and-pops. And while the actions don't appear coordinated, they have similar themes: supporting small businesses while criticizing the day's dedication to conspicuous consumption and the shopping frenzy that fuels big corporations.

Nearly each one promises some kind of surprise action on the day after Thanksgiving, the traditional start of the holiday shopping season.

Some business experts note that trying to shop exclusively local neglects economies of scale, job specialization and other benefits that big, multi-state corporations can bring. They also say small businesses aren't necessarily better employers in terms of wages, benefits, opportunities for advancement and other measures.



Demonstrators are complaining that thousands of books they had stored in a "people's library" were thrown out or destroyed when police officers raided their encampment last week.

The activists say city sanitation workers carted away about 4,000 volumes when they helped police dismantle the camp on Nov. 15. City officials say 26 truckloads of stuff were removed from Zuccotti Park, including the books, and that all of it was taken to a garage for safekeeping.

But the demonstrators say that only around 1,300 books have turned up at the garage so far, and that hundreds are mangled beyond repair. They want the city to buy replacements.

A spokeswoman for the mayor says protesters had "ample opportunity" to remove their property from the park prior to the raid.



The first female chancellor of the University of California, Davis, has found herself in the middle of a national debate over police use of pepper spray to subdue protesters and the way colleges balance free speech and public safety.

Linda Katehi, 57, has come under intense pressure after viral online videos showed police officers dousing a row of protesters with pepper spray as they sat passively on the ground with their arms linked.

Eleven students were hit by pepper spray, including two who were treated at a hospital and later released, university officials said.

Katehi has placed the campus police chief and two pepper-spraying officers on administrative leave. She also asked prosecutors to drop charges against nine students who were arrested and said the school would reimburse students for medical expenses.

She has publicly said she was horrified when she watched the videos. Even so, she is fighting calls for her resignation.



The City of London corporation took a step Wednesday to evict protesters camped outside St. Paul's Cathedral, insisting in court that the issue is not about protecting banks but protecting the rights and freedoms of others.

The organization _ which controls the area around St. Paul's _ says the ongoing Occupy London protest camp is harming nearby businesses. It also says protesters are drinking late into the night and creating an unpleasant atmosphere. It wants Britain's High Court to issue an eviction notice to force the protesters to move.

Protesters have camped outside St. Paul's since mid-October and say they will fight any legal bid to evict them.

Their proximity to Christopher Wren's 300-year-old icon has embroiled the church in a conflict between bank-bashing protesters and the city's finance industry. The church's position on the protesters has shifted several times, and the cathedral's dean and a senior priest have both resigned over the crisis.



Several Occupy Columbia protesters arrested last week for refusing to leave the Statehouse grounds sued South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and state public safety officials, saying their First Amendment rights were trampled when they were arrested for demonstrating on public property.

The suit alleges that Haley blames the protesters for damage to Statehouse grounds because she doesn't agree with their message. A spokesman for the Department of Public Safety had no comment, and Rob Godfrey, a spokesman for Haley, said the governor would fight the lawsuit.

The seven people who brought suit were among 19 protesters arrested Nov. 16 after Haley said anyone attempting to camp out on the Statehouse grounds after 6 p.m. would be arrested for trespassing.