Saturday, 12 November 2011

#OccupySLC: Now There Is Nothing But Ruins




In my post yesterday, I said of the SLPD that I did not think they were bluffing about shutting down #OccupySLC's longstanding Base Camp in Pioneer Park. I was correct.


Since I've written a bit about #OccupyTheFedSLC's camp on State Street (and later at Gallivan Plaza), and because I received a personal invitation to be there for the showdown, that's where I started. The weather was nasty - spitting rain, and later, snow. Thankfully I was warm and cozy voting an IWW SLC GMB into existence during an earlier snow flurry.

I quickly heard from some of the #Occupants at Gallivan that the real action was going to be at Pioneer Park.


I arrived at Pioneer Park as groups were separating into the "arrestables" and "nonarrestables." The anarchists pulled their masks or kerchiefs over their faces, the legal observers and ACLU folks put on their orange vests and IDs, and I produced from beneath the folds of my coat the world's most ghetto-assed press pass:


I have to say right now that I caught more $h!t for this press pass than I have for anything I've worn in public since middle school. The CBS camera-guy ranked on me. The ABC camera-guy ranked on me. An independent journalist who wore a complicated rig with three or four cameras on it snapped my picture and laughed uproariously when I produced this "pass" and fumblingly pinned it on. It was hilariously lame of me to wear that thing - and it didn't help!

The cops laughed at me when I asked to stay and shoot photos and video, then asked me a few times to leave and stop filming and so I did. The guys from ABC / CBS / etc. continued to film away. That sucked - next time I'm going to drop a few ducats on something that looks more official. The way I figure it, using a press pass is like using a cross against a vampire: you have to believe in it and/or imbue it with authenticity to make it "work." I don't know.

Soon after we separated into those willing to go to jail and those unwilling or unable to do so, the cops arrived, and moved immediately into the crowd.



I got an urgent call at that point from an unindicted co-conspirator of mine who told me that a mass movement of police was on its way. I was skeptical. I shouldn't have been.



They even brought a bulldozer and a dump truck, courtesy of the City, to "take down structures more easily" (read: bulldoze the tents of #Occupants).



Soon enough, the arrests began.





To avoid the stigma of "evicting" homeless "tenants" from the park, the SLPD (considerately) offered to transport anyone who needed a ride to the Road Home overflow shelter in Midvale.

Two stretch vehicles (a Hummer and something else I didn't recognize) showed up. Apparently #OSLC rented some storage units, and a wealthy gentleman whose name I did not catch [Update: Mr. John Netto]  provided the vehicles to transport peoples' belongings there if they needed them secured.


As I was wrapping up and leaving, I tried to get an official arrest count. As far as I can tell 19 people were arrested. One of them was Jesse Fruhwirth.

I remember when the crazy, idealism-driven scramble of tents and structures first emerged at Pioneer Park. I remember seeing how the kitchen tent became the Circle-A Cafe. I remember watching the flow of bizarre ideas, zines, pamphlets, crankery, and poetry that would circulate around the Free School and the People's Library.


Now there is nothing but ruins.





There is a General Assembly in Pioneer Park tomorrow at 4 PM - no curfew violation, perfectly legal.

I'll see you there.


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