Occupy Christmas

International Day of Action – December 25

Occupy Albany Eviction: Day and Night

Posted by troublemaker on December 25, 2011

It’s Christmas day and Dave Lucas would like you to come to Occupy Albany’s Christmas pot luck (1). It’s a reunion of sorts. Occupy Albany was evicted this past Friday, the day before Christmas Eve (2). Details of the eviction are wildly confused. Dave Lucas points out “there are two sides to every story” (3). While it is true that different perspectives on the same event can produce reports which are as different as day and night, the eviction of Albany literally involves a dispute over the timing being during the day or at night.

On one hand, we have the violent night time raid:

“A violent police raid on the Occupy Albany encampment on Thursday night [Dec. 22, 2011] ended with multiple injuries and arrests.” The Raw Story (2)

“After a move by Albany city officials to obtain an eviction order from a New York Supreme Court judge, referred to by occupiers as a “legal ambush,” ended in a melee at Academy Park Thursday night, and a brutal assault by local police.” (4)

Then we have a completely different story:

“The authorities came in daylight [Dec 22, 2011] on the day of the deadline, as they had said they would.” – Dave Lucas (3)

“Following the expiration of its permit Thursday morning, Occupy Albany was evicted from Academy Park that afternoon.” – All Over Albany (5)

Even the photos and video seem to provide a completely different story. At one point during the daylight hours, all tents seem to have been gone. But then there were other photos of protesters surrounding a tent at night and police tugging at that tent to take it down. I was starting to wonder if perhaps New York State had two different cities named Albany. Coffee flew from both nostrils when I discovered the truth behind the day / night eviction of Occupy Albany.

Occupy Albany has secured a permit allowing them to maintain as many as 30 tents in their encampment. That permit expired on the morning of December 22nd, 2011 when police moved in to clear any tent that remained. By afternoon, all the tents had been removed from the park. However, one of those tents was removed intact and erect by the protesters themselves. As a last show of defiance, they paraded that tent through the city of Albany.

“Then things went a bit crazy — Occupiers took their last tent on a tour of the city’s streets before returning to the park. That’s when police grabbed the last tent, the scene became chaotic, there was pepper spray, and a few arrests.” – All Over Albany (5)

From the many photos taken by All Over Albany, we know the press was allowed to document the event. From the story of the tent being paraded through the city, we know that most protesters with Occupy Albany have not only high spirits but a great sense of gonzo style humor. From the blog of someone who is directly involved with the encampment, we know police kept their word, arrived on time, and were mostly civil. Yes, a few people were pepper sprayed by police. Yes, at least one protester acted against a police officer on horseback. But for the most part, both sides seemed to have remained civil. Where some might believe that civility resulted in the crushing of Occupy Albany, I tend to thin it assured the movement’s continuation in Albany New York.

You see Occupy Albany acquired a permit for their encampment. That means the city of Albany; New York “permitted” the encampment. With evictions taking down Occupy encampments across the globe, it has become clear that the initial form of protest to “occupy” public spaces will no longer be “permitted”. Although we do not know the future of Occupy Albany, reports indicate that one of the few people pepper sprayed by police was a city council member. It seems obvious that working with the city during the occupation will go a great distance towards future efforts. Doing so causes officials to wonder if they are not themselves one of the 99%.

Thank you Occupy Albany for reminding us that humor is a wonderful tool in protest and that most police, city council members and even some mayors are themselves part of the 99%. Our hope for the New Year is that more media can report on both sides of the coin, day and night.

 

 

  1. Dave Lucas blogs about Occupy Albany
  2. The Raw Story: Brutal police raid brings Occupy Albany to an end
  3. Dave Lucas blogs about Occupy Albany eviction
  4. http://occupyamerica.crooksandliars.com/diane-sweet/occupy-albany-ends-after-brutal-police
  5. All Over Albany: The Eviction of Occupy Albany

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