Opening day for Occupy Wall Street: Act 2
Occupy Wall Street protesters plan demonstrations in more than 100 cities, hoping to rekindle the movement after months in relative hibernation
Starting Tuesday morning, May Day, the Occupy Movement in 100 cities will begin what it is terming “spring awakening,” with marches, rhetoric, and probably some old-fashioned civil disobedience. The organizers are calling for a general strike although union support for a work moratorium appears low. And after a day of unpermitted, pop-up protests, educational picket lines, “free university” teach-ins, and other events there will be an “after party,” with bands and speeches.
Many of the issues will seem familiar from last fall when the protests began: income inequality (think 99 percent vs. 1 percent), high levels of student debt, and anger at foreclosures. But this spring the disparate groups that make up Occupy are “zeroing in” on some specific issues, such as breaking up the Bank of America, campaigning against right-wing groups, and a new focus on the issues facing people of color. More…
In Suit, Protesters Say City Violated Their Constitutional Rights
The City of New York, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and several large corporations have regularly violated the constitutional rights of Occupy Wall Street protesters who have sought to express their opinions at various demonstrations across the city, according to a wide-ranging federal lawsuit filed on Monday.
The lawsuit, which included several City Council members as plaintiffs, said that the city “in concert with various private and public entities” subjected the plaintiffs to “violations of rights to free speech, assembly, freedom of the press, false arrest, excessive force, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution.”
At times, the Police Department had improperly photographed people who were arrested and may not have destroyed those pictures, when required by law, according to the lawsuit, which was filed in United States District Court in Manhattan.
In addition, the lawsuit said, the city had stopped some plaintiffs from “carrying out their duties as elected officials.’’
Muriel Goode-Trufant, the chief of the special federal litigation division of the city Law Department, said, “We will review the matters thoroughly,” adding that the agency was waiting to receive the complaint.
Court papers said that the private companies, which included Brookfield Properties and JPMorgan Chase, had improperly excluded protesters from public spaces that are controlled by those companies and are supposed to remain open in return for zoning concessions. Representatives from those companies declined to comment. More…
Protesters Accuse Police of Improperly Using Barricades
A federal lawsuit filed on Monday accused the New York Police Department of improperly using barricades to corral protesters and asked a judge to issue an order forbidding certain uses of barricades.
The lawsuit stems from events that happened on Nov. 30, 2011, when President Obama attended a fund-raiser at the Sheraton Hotel in Midtown Manhattan. That night, the lawsuit said, about 100 people connected to the Occupy Wall Street movement showed up at the hotel to hold a demonstration.
There, the lawsuit said, the group was directed by the police to stand between barricades arranged in a U shape near the southwest corner of 53rd Street and Seventh Avenue, about 100 feet away from the hotel.
About 10 minutes after protesters entered the barricaded area, officers placed a final group of barricades into place, completely surrounding the protesters, the lawsuit said, adding that they were not permitted to leave the pen for about two hours.
“Demonstrators were treated differently than others at the same intersection at the same time,” the lawsuit states. “N.Y.P.D. officials told plaintiffs and others in the pen that they were being held ‘because’ they were protesters. Tourists who were trapped in the pen as well as journalists were released while demonstrators were held.” More…