Occupy St Louis

I was in St Louis for business and visited the Occupy site. The crowd is considerably sparse. The tents are gone. The arch and capitol with the Christmas tree are backdrop. There were three skate boarders with a serious video camera. The website is very active. The protest is largely invisible in the park now.

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Occupy Wall St

I went to check up on Occupy Wall St after attending Santacon. There were more Santa and helpers than there were protesters. In fact there was one legitimate protester claiming to be a librarian. The rest were homeless and panhandling while others stood by with fringe radical agendas on their cardboard boxes. The Occupy Portland folks had it right last week. Sleep in, the revolution has passed by. The park had returned to normal except for all the barricades.

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Occupy Portland, Maine

It’s funny because I never intended to see so many demonstrations. Portland, Oregon has a much bigger operation that has been in the news. Whenever you mention Portland, it’s usually Oregon where there’s lots more going on. The internet says it’s so when you search the name.

At high noon on December 2, it was crisp and blustery with a chill breeze in the park. I passed the encampment, which by now I recognize by its appearance. The signs soon confirmed the purpose. The tents were well spaced. There was hardly anyone stirring. There was no police interest or presence. Maybe the protesters were sleeping late or they were off at another event. I had literally minutes so I could not speak with anyone, not that there were many people about. Maybe I’m mistaken but it seems that, “The revolution is temporarily canceled due to lack of interest.”

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Occupy Wall St, Part 2

I returned to Zuccotti Park today. Since I was there, I have been to Occupy St. Louis and NYC endured a surprise winter Nor’easter, which dumped a heavy wet snow. Immediate calls went out for winter gear. The city removed gasoline and electric generators in the name of safety. Mayor Bloomberg wishes that everyone would go home. If anything the resolve of the protesters is strengthened. Some serious tents now crowd the park. The path winding through the park is narrower as the tents cover about all the available space. There are now safe tents for women and soon for men.

The homeless are in evidence. Commercial sales of Occupy Wall St buttons and T-shirts are present on the outskirts of the park. Several people panhandled for money that did not seem destined for the cause. The air of camaraderie was still present. But some demands such as the American Indian protest are examples of narrow interest groups. Santa? You judge.

Members of the group got to march in the Village Halloween Parade. The neighborhood complains about the drumming. But it only occurs during the day. As loud as it seems to sound up close in the pictures, you cannot hear the drums from less than a block away. The canyons of skyscrapers absorb sound very well. And, finally portable toilets have been brought into the area. That will end the complaint of public urination. The city should have consented to do this weeks ago.

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Arrested OWS

In the arms of police and restrained from running

I happened to be sitting across the street from the courthouse. I had moved to avoid arrest after overhearing a protester’s mumbles. The police wanted the front of the courthouse steps clear. A young girl, Nicole, from Virginia, ran across the street in the cross walk. She had no shoes, just socks with holes. An undercover cop jumped out and spoke to someone else I did not see. “You want her?” And with that I witnessed an arrest. I was surprised that there seemed to be very little commotion from the protesters. A few called out. Most people were unaware of the arrest or chose not to harass the police. Others were downright taunting. “Hey go fix a ticket.” In this instance the police officers and their superiors were professional. NBC was there. The story was spun out. Her friend, the redhead, told the NBC reporter that Nicole had been knocked to the ground by the police for no reason. I did not see the alleged offense, so I cannot comment on whether Nicole was innocent. She was not abused. After being cuffed, she sat down on the ground so that she could not be removed from the scene easily. The first amendment was in abundant display. Mostly the protesters and the police showed restraint. The news reported about a dozen arrests. I saw about six.

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