Pamela Powers, a progressive voice for Arizona
Throughout the day yesterday, Occupy Tucson posted calls to action on its facebook page alerting supporters to a possible eviction that evening.
For a little more than two months, Occupy Tucson has maintained a continuous encampment downtown– first at Armory Park and then at Veinte de Agosto Park, after their first eviction by the Tucson Police Department (TPD). The Occupiers have never wavered in their demands for free speech and in their fight for the 99% and against the corporate takeover of the US.
Despite being one of the smaller Occupations in the US, Tucson Occupiers have suffered more police harassment than other Occupations. To the credit of the police and the Occupiers, there have been no violent clashes, but the Tucson Occupiers have received a disproportionate number of citations. Occupy Tucson citations are second only to Occupy Wall Street (1,359), according to the Occupy Tucson legal team, quoting data from St. Pete for Peace, an independent group that has verified (with two reliable sources) 5,425 Occupy arrests nationwide. Tucson has had 455 arrests according to St. Pete for Peace, but TPD has reported more than 700 arrests.
Occupy Tucson disappeared from downtown last night. Homeless but undaunted, what will be the next steps for Occupy Tucson?
UPDATE: Occupy Tucson will hold a noon meeting today (December 22, 2011) in Presidio Park in downtown Tucson to discuss next steps.
UPDATE 2: MoveOn.org sent out a message that there will be an Occupy Tucson General Assembly in Armory Park tonight (December 22, 2011) at 6 p.m.
Here is an eye-witness account of the eviction by Alex Maldonado, Veteran for Peace and Tucson Occupier.
On Wednesday evening [Dec. 21, 2011] at 7 p.m., during Occupy Tucson’s General Assembly, Tucson Police Department (TPD) Chief Villasenor interrupted the GA to announce that TPD would close Veinte de Agosto Park at 10:30pm tonight and wanted all occupiers out of the park.
A few minutes later, two TPD cruisers shut down Broadway and Church, followed by over a dozen TPD vehicles that encircled the encampment.
Flood lights were then set-up to give light to the entire park as occupiers began a second bug-out since the start of the occupation on October 15th.
Vehicles appeared, helping occupiers pack and move every item from the encampment to a safe location elsewhere.
The Veterans For Peace flag which has been flying over the encampment since the beginning of the occupation was lowered from the flagpole, yet a second time, but was promised to fly over the next encampment by the Veterans For Peace, who lowered the flag.
The TPD presence grew again at 10pm, when more TPD vehicles arrived with lights flashing. TPD cruisers, SUV’s, motorcycles and one pick-up truck had the park surrounded. Occupiers were finishing the bug-out and were, yet again, picking any and all trash from the park, leaving it better than when the occupation found it.
At one point, the occupiers stormed back into the park as TPD watched helplessly, and took some group photos with the statue of Pancho Villa in the background. Just as fast as the group rushed in, the group returned back to the “safe zone” which was the sidewalk.
Melissa Tibbals-Gribbin made a stand of her own, as she marched back into the park, stood atop a rock formation and held her hand in the air until TPD circled her, handcuffed her and took her into custody.
Occupiers then decided to sleep on the sidewalk but only after TPD imposed “a sleeping bag and covers only” policy for those few brave souls.
Five hours since the first two TPD cruisers shut down Broadway and Church, TPD finally left with only a small token crew to watch over the park for the remainder of the night.
Even though the occupiers were evicted yet again, spirits were high and a GA was already being planned for the next day. Occupy Tucson may be homeless tonight but tomorrow always brings hope for the movement and a new location to be determined.
Again, a sincere thank you to all the Occupy Tusconers for their generous donations to the city’s coffers, in the form of citations and fines. Also, thank you for peacefully ceasing and desisting your self-described illegal occupation of public land (that’s what civil disobedience is, right?). Well done, now go back to college, your term papers are waiting. (Is that what we’re supposed to say? I get confused with all the new “praise children for everything they do” theories…)
RIP OT. Started hot and steamy, removed from the park cold and dirty….like so much dog poop. If only you had a message we could put in on your cardboard tombstone. If only you had brought about some change we could list in as an accomplishment. But, as expected, you accomplished nothing, damaged property, wasted our time and took our focus away from important issues. Thank you for nothing.
See Ya! Don’t let the tent flap hit you on the way out! What a monumental waste of time and effort.
Be careful what you say. Keep talking like that and they’ll start deleting your posts as being un-political correct. I know what I’m talking about.
Is this NOT AMERICA? VIETNAM VETERAN – did I almost die, and see countless brothers die, for the police to shut down their right to protest.
WHAT A BUNCH OF REDNECK, RIGHT WING, REPUBEICANS RUNNING THIS STATE!!! PATHETIC!!!
I’m reading comments from people who’ve never even been to the encampment.
Yes, there were problems and challenges, but what do you expect in a country with a ,huge police force and empty jail cells all used to quell dissent?
You can not have a public protest/encampment w/o attracting all kinds of people, and being homeless can and does make people crazy. So much energy was based on everyday survival plus sleep deprivation and the constant threat of tickets and arrest, that many of Occupy Tucson’s plans never happened. But the system in this country created homelessness, and has now criminalized it (you get fined and then jailed for sleeping in a public park) . Some of the homeless people became very important to making the camp run well, and did longer volunteer hours than people who had a house to sleep in.
Everyone has the right to their own opinion, but how about going and experiencing consensus at the General Assembly and at least spending an hour at the camp before you
write about it?
Can anyone here be absolutely sure that they will never be homeless?
What it things get worse?
“But the system in this country created homelessness, and has now criminalized it (you get fined and then jailed for sleeping in a public park) .”
Once one becomes a part of the excess labor pool, one becomes useless to the system. Putting you into the prison-industrial system makes you useful to the system once again; or, at least, keeps you out of sight and makes you part of America’s fastest-growing enterprise.
“Can anyone here be absolutely sure that they will never be homeless?”
Very good and relevant points.
Few of you have ever taken a moment to ponder things other than the quips spoon feed to you by your political “leaders”. You don’t question Chinese trade opened by a Republican, and China given preferred trade status by a Democrat. Glass-Steagall repealed by a Democrat President with an assist from a Republican Congress. You never asked yourselves “where did Cleveland, Detroit, Pittsburgh, etc go?” You…you voted them out and replaced them with ponzi service sector jobs. Now? As you sit here most of you with negative or little NET WORTH……you consider yourself wealthy because you have a new car (on credit), a big television (on credit), or an upside down house in the right neighborhood. Your middle class has been slowly rotting away for decades, and your best defense is to laugh at anyone who questions it. Try reading sometimes instead of being spoon-fed your opinions. Then? Maybe you’d realize there is in fact something wrong with our country.
The whole occupy movement was on the right track in the beginning because they were attacking the bankers who were bailed out by tax money and should have been allowed to fail for their mistakes. The Fed over dramatized the effect of bank failures on the U.S. so they could steal taxpayer money. Then they conned the gullible (or bought and paid for) President Obama into a giant stimulus which wasted more taxpayer money. Now we are stuck with an enormous 15+ trillion dollar debt due to these elitists. The occupy movement should have stayed focused and forced Bernanke to resign while making the Fed open its books to show all of its manipulations. This is the biggest scam forced upon taxpayers since the country’s founding. People need to wake up.
Just because Occupy Tucson is no longer visible at the park, I hope that doesn’t mean they have gone away.