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Occupy protests (also known as “Occupy Together”) refer to an American grassroots movement and a series of demonstrations held across the nation to express solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street protestors in New York City.
Occupy Together began on September 23rd, 2011, six days after the beginning of Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protests, with the help of two Nebraskan activists who were looking to collect information about offshoot protests that were being organized around the country. While there is no direct affiliation with the Wall Street occupants, the link to Occupy Together’s website was posted via OWS forum the same day. In their initial post, they stated that 17 scheduled events were already underway. It was also shared in the Day Ten communiqué issued by OWS official site, which stated that 52 American cities and places in three continents were either already protesting or mobilizing for occupation.
Mobilization via Meetup
Working with Meetup.com, Occupy Together created a hubsite for users to create Occupying communities worldwide. As of October 12th, Denver, Phoenix, Miami, Seattle and San Diego all have at least 100 members and nearly 10,000 users have joined various meetups in over 1400 participating cities.
View Occupy Together in a larger map
The movement also have a dedicated Wiki, a Facebook page, with nearly 100,000 likes, and a Twitter with over 14,000 followers. Daily Kos is also maintaining a list of the events. The news of Occupy Together as a nationwide movement was picked up by ABC News and CBS News, among other news stories focused on smaller, local-area events.
Notable Chapters in the U.S.
October 3rd: Occupy Boston
Occupy Boston began on October 3rd, 2011, two days after the Take Back Boston rally ended. They chose Dewey Square as their campsite, across the street from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. With over 16,000 followers on Twitter almost 24,000 likes on Facebook, Occupy Boston appeared on major news outlets because of the police reaction. On October 11th, 141 protestors and members of the Veterans for Peace were arrested in Dewey Square and the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway.
Occupy 4th: Occupy Los Angeles
October 5th: Occupy San Francisco
October 6th: Occupy D.C.
The protests in the capital city of Washington D.C. began on October 6th, coinciding with the tenth anniversary of the war in Afghanistan. According to the Washington Post, thousands of people gathered at Freedom Plaza and many showed up with camping equipments to set up base in McPherson Square. On October 11th, six demonstrators were arrested in the Senate’s Hart office building after unfurling an upside-down American flag and chanting anti-corporate messages messages. On October 12th, D.C. protesters were rallied by a guest appearance from political activist Ralph Nader.
October 6th: Occupy Portland
Portland started its occupation on October 6th, 2011. Thousands attended the first day and several hundred people continued to camp out at the Lownsdale and Chapman Square parks. Their Facebook page has over 11,000 likes. While the police have not interacted with protestors to a large extent, there has been an investigation into an alleged sexual assault at Chapman Square. Mayor Sam Adams has also visited the camp, asking them to vacate the area in order to reopen the streets that protestors are refusing to move from.
October 10th: Occupy Oakland
The demonstration in Oakland, California began with a rally and encampment of 150 tents in downtown Oakland in front of the City Hall on October 10th, 2011. Since then, the occupants have led numerous marches from Frank Ogawa Plaza to Snow Park and a number of local politicians including the mayor, city council members and congressional representatives have visited the site to express their support.
United for Global Change (a.k.a. October 15 or O-15) is an international protest organized via Internet and inspired by a number of civil resistance movements including the Arab Spring, the Spanish “Indignants” protests, the Greek protests and the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations.
By midnight of October 14th, protests had been scheduled all over the world across 951 cities in 82 countries, according to United for Global Change website. On October 15th, people from dozens of countries gathered in major cities by using various social media services, such as e-mail lists, PiratePad, Facebook, Foursquare and Meetup. On Facebook, numerous event pages were launched to serve as the hub information site for Occupy protests in Brazil, Berlin, sydney and Tokyo.
In addition to online coordination, the protesters provided live coverage of the events through Twitter updates, YouTube videos and mobile uploads of images via sites like Bambuser and Yfrog. Several demonstrations in Spain and the United States were streamed in real time through livestreaming services like Ustream and Livestream.
According to the Wikipedia article on the list of Occupy protests held on October 15th:
The largest protests took place in Spain where the ongoing “Indignancio” demonstrations continued on October 15th, resulting in a turnout of more than a million people across the country, In Madrid, over 500,000 protesters reoccupied the Puerta del Sol square where the Indignados had camped five months earlier on 15th May. As in protests elsewhere, slogans on signs included “We are the 99%”, “United for Global Change” and “Human Rights for Everybody.”
At least 300,000 people showed up in Rome under the banner of “People of Europe: Rise Up.” During the march, a small contingent derailed from the main route and threw rocks, bottles and incendiary devices at banks and riot police. Fires erupted in some buildings and as a result of the clash between police officers and protesters, including 105 police officers. 12 people were arrested.
Several thousands of protesters gathered at the site of London Stock Exchange under the hashtag #OccupyLSX to show solidarity with Occupy Wall Street movements in the United States. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange also made an appearance to give a speech in support of the Occupy protests.
Occupy Melbourne was organized via hashtag #OccupyMelb and Facebook group to meet in City Square on October 15th, 2011. An eviction notice was handed out to protestors on the morning of October 21st, from Lord Mayor Robert Doyle stating that they had violated a 2009 law by camping in the Square. Doyle told newspapers the protestors had done at least $15,000 in damages. At 9am, when protesters had not left, police in riot gear entered the camp. By the end of the day, over 100 people had been arrested with 20 people suffering minor injuries from the 400 police that stormed the site. Protestors say that 17 truckloads of personal property were removed from the site and subsequently destroyed, including computers, tents, cameras, and bicycles
Occupy Protests in the U.S.
In New York, Occupy Wall Street protesters marched towards the Times Square in midtown, where an estimate of 10,000 supporters gathered for #OccupyTimesSquare on October 15th. Protests also took place in Washington, Boston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami and Dallas. At least 90 demonstrators were arrested in New York, 100 in Boston, 175 in Chicago, 50 in Phoenix, 19 in Sacramento and 20 in Raleigh, according to the Wikipedia article.
Occupy Oakland Raided
On October 25th, 2011, Bay Area police officers in riot gear raided both protest sites in the early hours shortly after midnight, resulting in several episodes of violent clash between the police and the protesters who refused to disband and leave the site. On October 22nd, the protesters were notified by Oakland Police Department to leave the camping site due to health and safety concerns. The skirmishes in down were streamed in realtime via LiveStream.
Dozens of video clips of the riot police firing rubber bullets, flashbang grenades and tear gas canisters were uploaded onto video-sharing sites like YouTube and spread via Twitter. One particular video showed a U.S. Marines veteran wounded after being shot at point-blank range with a plastic bullet.
On Twitter, #OccupyOakland became a global trending topic during the early hours of October 25th and a parody Twitter account purported as Oakland Police Department was launched on the same day. On Facebook, hundreds of people posted accusatory comments on the official page of Oakland mayor Jean Quan, who has previously expressed her support for the movement. After being forced to disperse, Occupy Oakland organizers posted an online call for action on its website OccupyOakland.org and other social networking accounts to continue the protests on October 26th at 6pm."
November 5th: Bank Transfer Day
On November 5th, 2011, Occupy protesters across the United States participated in a nationwide campaign known as “Bank Transfer Day” which involved transferring personal funds from major banking institutions to non-profit credit unions.
The Facebook event page was created by an LA-based art gallery owner Kristen Christian, who ignited a national conversation when she posted the message on her personal Facebook profile in early October: “If you don’t want to pay the likes of Bank of America $5 a month to access your money via debit card, just transfer your cash to your friendly, local credit union.” Christian was interviewed by the local media following the Facebook discussion and the official Twitter account @BankTransferDay was launched on October 11th, 2011.
The Colorado Independent reported that 14,000 new accounts and over $100 million in new deposits were created within the state’s credit unions. In downtown Los Angeles, hundreds of people took the “Bank Transfer Day” campaign to the streets by marching through the financial district after canceling their accounts at Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Chase and other large banking companies. As of November 7th, the official Facebook event page “Bank Transfer Day” has over 85,000 RSVPs and according to the Credit Union National Association, over 650,000 people have joined credit unions and an estimated amount of $4.5 billion in new savings accounts have been added to the unions in the past month alone.
Washington Post National – Occupy Boston: Veterans clash with police, scores arrested
Occupy Portland –
Portland Tribune – Police investigating possible sexual assault at Occupy Portland camp
Washington Post – Occupy D.C. protest in McPherson Square: Woodstock meets Washington