Monday, October 31, 2011

cities doing it right; respecting occupy's right to free speech and assembly

Video - Putting Occupy Wall Street into perspective

Washingtonsblog | Given all of the police brutality in Oakland, Denver and New York City (here, here, here, here, here, here and here), it is important to give credit to the cities which are respecting the protesters’ rights to free speech and assembly.

As Occupy Orange County reported Wednesday;
Late last night after a 5 and-a-half hour marathon city council meeting [in Irvine, Orange County, in Southern California], in which 72 speakers took the floor to express the need for the Occupy OC Tent Village to be accepted as a form of free speech, the city council passed an emergency motion to add the needs of “The 99%” to their official agenda. This was a feat which, according to one more conservative Councilman, he had never seen in 7 years of service.

The council members each spoke in turn to the civility, articulateness and peaceful process represented by the Irvine Occupation , at contrast with the several other Occupational Villages in California, which were, at that very moment being tear-gassed. The general sentiment of the officials being: “This is quite clearly the model. And the occupation most in tune with city needs.”

One councilman stated clearly, “I disagree with most of what you’re saying. But you’ve clearly shown that this is an issue of free speech. So if you need to sleep on our lawn,… by all means,… sleep on our lawn.”

Shortly after, a motion was brought to the council to grant license to the occupiers to occupy the public space overnight citing the unusual form of the movement. (Another first in council history.)

It was then passed unanimously to the sound of thunderous applause.

Shortly thereafter, the City Council was invited to attend the General Assembly of the People. (Which takes place each night in the Occupation Village at 7:00 PM.)

On a personal note,… I myself was stopped by the Mayor on my way up the hall, when he said, “You know what concerns me?” “What’s that”, I asked. Expecting him to cite a civil code. “Do you have enough blankets? Or should I get you some?” He asked.

And while they might not be as respectful of the Constitution (even when they disagree with the protesters’ beliefs) as Irvine, other cities have at least handled the protests better than the cities who have sent in the riot police.
For example, AP notes, in a story entitled “Occupy Wall Street: Many Cities Leaving Protesters Alone


Makheru Bradley said...

I was out on a bike ride this weekend and I decided to ride past the Occupy Charlotte  camp. All I saw was a peaceful  tent city on the old courthouse lawn--not a police officer in sight--no activity.  I assume I just happen to ride by during some down time. However, I would not expect city officials to move on these people.  They would not want to generate any negative publicity and stir things up with the DNC coming to CLT in September.    

nanakwame said...

Apparently more Veterans are joining also, for they have cut medical services, especially mental ill programs. 

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