Thursday, 20 October 2011

#OccupySLC : Day 14 (Two Weeks!) "Rolling Six Deep With The Boys In Blue"

(Disclaimer: that image is not from #OccupySLC. It's actually taken from Earth-Prime, where the police are protesting brutalization at the hands of the civilian populace. All other images are from #OccupySLC unless otherwise specified)

For the past 14 days, a surprisingly tidy and peaceful experiment in self-government and solidarity has unfolded in Pioneer Park. From the get-go through the one week mark and continuing right up to today, #OccupySLC has remained completely peaceful.

Every day that I've visited the base camp (which has been, well, every day with the exception of a handful) I've heard exactly the same thing about the SLCPD: they lurk near the outskirts of the encampment and regularly shake them down for tickets (smoking, dog on leash, etc.), but so far there has been no attempt to evict anyone, despite the fondest wishes of some "community members" (incidentally, should either Mr. Beret or Attorney General Shurtleff need clarification on why it might not be a good idea to clear out #OccupySLC they can read Dahlia Lithwick  here  ).

Speaking of Legal Beagles, I was overjoyed to drop by the #OccupySLC base camp to find that the ACLU of Utah has been there:

Here's a big fat disclaimer for anybody who thinks that this represents a conspiracy: 1.) #OccupySLC, like #OccupyWallStreet, has formally rejected affiliation with any political party. 2.) #OccupySLC welcomes anyone who is part of the 99% to join the party and share whatever resources are available.

That doesn't mean that a local coffee shop that donates coffee or urns to the Pioneer Park campsite is "in league with" the Occupants. It means that said coffee shop wants to reach out to the Occupants either because they sympathize with the movement or because they admire the infrastructure that has sprung up in
the park to meet so many needs.

In the case of the Utah ACLU, they offer legal assistance and advice to any protest. Their primary objective, as is the case with that little green pamphlet (which also provides immigration lawyer resources) is to protect civil liberties. The little postcard to the right says explicitly that "The ACLU of Utah does not endorse the messages or viewpoints expressed by protest participants, nor do we represent individuals in criminal defense cases."

The most interesting of the civil liberty / "if you are arrested" documents above is the one to the left, which was produced by #OccupySLC's Peacekeeping Committee. It includes the standard (and extremely important) information on avoiding self-incrimination, plus a few chestnuts I liked that go above and beyond the usual. Observe:

Interacting with the Police: Find a police liason to engage with the police if necessary - keep your hands in plain view - NEVER touch a police officer, their dog, their car, or any other police property - never lie to a police officer; choose to remain silent instead - the police are allowed to lie to you and frequently do - when threatening arrest, the police will attempt to threaten activists with felonies - the police have no power to charge you; that is left to a prosecutor's office - police are accustomed to being in power; if they feel that they are not they may get very agitated and choose to escalate.

That's very, very good advice right there. The ACLU's press release regarding #OccupySLC and the SLCPD is  here  . If you would like to give money to the Utah ACLU, the donation portal is  here  .

NOTE: if you or someone you know has been arrested during #OccupySLC, these attorneys - all members of the Utah Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers - have volunteered to offer their services either for free or at a significantly discounted rate:

Pro Bono:
Julie George - 801 599 0760 (c)
Jenna Merchant - 801 599 6986 (c)
Loren Lambert - 801 568 0041 (w)
Brian Arnold - 801 475 0123 (w)
Shawn Foster - 801 815 0924 (c)
Maria Dylla - (801) 349 7093 (c)
Peter Goodall - (801) 990 1873 (c)
Chad Stuer (801) 635 4227 (c)
Mary Corporon (801) 532 3333 (c)

Low fee:
Marco Brown (801) 274 3200 (w) marco@browncriminaldefense
Brian Frees (801) 562 2500 (c)

ACLU of Utah Free Speech Hotline: (801) 893 2198

The handout also reiterates the formally-adopted Guidelines and Principles of the occupation of Salt Lake City, which heavily emphasize non-violence and denounce the destruction of property.

The #OccupySLC hub is  here  . Twitter feeds  here  and  here  . National #OccupyTogether hub  here  .

Here's the #OccupySLC schedule and free school itinerary as released so far for today:

11:00 AM MST - Day Assembly
5:00 PM MST - Peace and Freedom Through Self-Inquiry
5:00 PM MST - Veggie Stew
6:00 PM MST - Two Weeks Strong March
7:30 PM MST - General Assembly

I'll update the schedule as I get more information.

Happy birthday, #OccupySLC base camp!

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