Occupy Tucson protester: Are permits required to exercise your right to free speech? (Image Credit: Pamela Powers)
For six weeks– through heavy rain and nightly disruption by the Tucson Police Department (TPD)– Occupy Tucson has maintained a peaceful encampment protest in downtown Tucson. TPD has issued more than 600 curfew citations and, recently, physically arrested protesters for civil disobedience in not signing their citations.
On Saturday night, four peaceful protesters were arrested; on Sunday night, TPD came to the encampment with significantly more force– six cruisers and an SUV– but made no arrests. (See eye witness reports below.)
This show of muscle by TPD is out of step with at least three of the Tucson City Council– Karin Uhlich, Richard Fimbres, and Regina Romero– and former city officials George Miller and Molly McKasson.
As the situation is escalates, one has to ask: Who’s in charge? Is it City Manager (and former police chief) Richard Miranda? If so, someone needs to tell him his tactics of harassment are– at the very least– exacerbating the situation and making the movement stronger in its resolve and– at worst– could escalate the peaceful protest into a violent clash.
Tucsonans are behind the Occupiers– as is evidenced by the food and other donations and this totally unscientific poll, which has been running at 65-70% in favor of the Occupation since it was posted a few days ago.
Where do we go from here? My vote is for letting the Occupiers stay in the park– without police interference, further arrests, or curfew citations. We are the 99%.
November 26 report
From Alex Maldonado, Occupy Tucson Peacekeeper and member of Veterans For Peace…
From 10:40pm, Saturday night to 12:10am, Sunday morning, Tucson Police Department cited and released demonstrators of Occupy Tucson for staying in the park after hours, except for four who were taken into custody.
Michael (Mike) Migliore was taken into custody after chaining himself onto one of the poles at Veinte de Agosto Park in making a stance for his First Amendment right. TPD handcuffed Migliore and then proceeded to cut the chains, and escorted him to a police cruiser, where he was led away.
Mary DeCamp was taken into custody for the second time in three nights as she refused her citation. DeCamp was walked from her tent to a general area, where occupiers were being cited. DeCamp was then taken to another police cruiser where she was handcuffed, seated and then led away.
William (Billy) Lolos, who also refused his citation, was also taken into custody as he was handcuffed before taken to the general area. Lolos was then taken to yet another police cruiser and seated, and led away.
One unidentified male was also handcuffed and taken into custody, and was seated in the same police cruiser as Lolos.
All four were peacefully taken into custody without incident as fellow occupiers and supporters gave encouragement to those taken into custody for the third night in a row.
November 27 report
From Alex Maldonado, Occupy Tucson Peacekeeper and member of Veterans For Peace…
10:30pm to 11:30pm, TPD bull-rushed the encampment with six police cruisers and one SUV. Ten occupiers were sitting on the U-Turn curb, as there is a possibility of mid to high-teen numbers in citations. TPD’s mood tonight was not as amiable as previous nights. No one was taken into custody.
For those of you who have forgotten why the Occupiers are out there– or never understood the movement. Here is Occupy Tucson’s Declaration…
On Saturday, November 12, 2011, participants of the General Assembly of Occupy Tucson came to consensus and passed the following Declaration of the Occupation of Tucson as a working document. This is a living document and will be updated with new additions as the process continues.
Declaration of the Occupation of Tucson
As we gather in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice, we must not lose sight of what has brought us together.As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality that the status quo is unacceptable, and that our political and economic institutions, both corporate and governmental, are failing us; that the corruption of our system has undermined our rights, and it is now up to us, the people, to re-found those rights, and expand upon them. We assert that legitimate institutions derive their power from the people, and, therefore, as the people overwhelmingly reject the monopoly of power exercised by both government and transnational corporations, and in particular large financial corporations and the military-industrial complex, that their power is illegitimate; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by political and economic power, or when the rule of power trumps the rule of law.We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known:
We will not tolerate discrimination in the workplace, or in our governmental institutions, or within our own movement based on age, race, sex, class, gender identity, sexual orientation, developmental ability, physical ability, religious belief, and non-belief.
We condemn and consider illegitimate the acquisition of houses through an illegal foreclosure process by banks and other financial firms.
We condemn and consider illegitimate the massive bailouts that have been passed by Congress on terms unacceptable to the majority of Americans.
We condemn the media’s performance in keeping people misinformed and fearful. We condemn governmental and corporate manipulation of the media for the purpose of spreading disinformation and concealing incriminating or embarrassing information.
We recognize that financial corruption and failure are practiced with impunity under the slogan “Too Big To Fail.” In the midst of their devastating failures, we condemn the rewarding of massive bonuses to financial executives and elites.
We condemn the pressure to limit workers’–including migrant workers’–pay and access to healthcare in order to inflate profits, and overcompensate managers and executives. We demand the recognition of workers’ rights as human rights.
We oppose the systemic orientation of outsourcing more and more jobs, and condemn its use to exert further pressure on workers.
We condemn the scapegoating of the poor, and in particular the scapegoating of immigrants, including those who enter the US, often out of desperation, illegally.
We will not tolerate the torture, confinement, and cruel treatment of nonhuman animals, and we condemn those who actively hide these practices.
We condemn the “structural adjustment” policies of the IMF, WTO, World Bank, et al. which have disrupted and degraded developing economies throughout the world. Consequently, we demand the forgiveness of the crushing debts imposed by the above bodies.
We condemn the use of legal teams, lobbyists, and other means to circumvent the spirit of our laws.
We condemn the universal commodification of our culture.
We condemn the practice of blocking generic forms of medicine that could save people’s lives in order to protect investments that have already turned a substantial profit.
We condemn the execution of persons, and oppose the privatization of prisons.
We condemn colonialism in all its forms.
We condemn torture, and we condemn dismissing the killing of civilians as “collateral damage”.
We condemn the creation of weapons of mass destruction, and the profits derived from their creation.
We demand accountability to the people and will not tolerate corruption in government and transnational corporations.
We demand the dissolution of the legal absurdity of corporate personhood.
We demand deeper investment in alternative, renewable forms of energy, and condemn policies that keep us unsustainably dependent on oil and other fossil fuels.
We demand the conversion of the perpetual war economy into an economy that supports peace and sustainability.
We demand accountability of transnational corporations that have purposely covered up oil spills, accidents, faulty bookkeeping, and faulty products—endangering lives and health—in pursuit of profit.
We demand the recognition of a worker’s right to negotiate for better pay and safer working conditions, and the right to negotiate in association with other workers.
We demand a reevaluation of the food supply—including a reevaluation of agribusiness and federal food policies and subsidies—with an emphasis on correcting negligence and dissolving monopolies.
We demand the end of all privatization of the commons such as water, seeds, genetic materials, et al.
We demand education as a right, and we condemn massive student debts as an abridgment of that right.
We demand publicly-financed campaigns, and condemn the use of money to buy disproportionate and undue influence in government.
We demand the end of the revolving-door lobby system between Congress and corporations.
We demand instant-runoff voting to supplant the winner-take-all system in elections.
We demand transparency in the tabulating of ballot returns.
*This list is not all-inclusive and may be amended at any time by consensus of the General Assembly.
We, the Occupy Tucson General Assembly, are asserting our first amendment rights, as well as our power as citizens. We are peaceably assembled; occupying public space; creating a process to address the problems we face, and generating solutions accessible to everyone.
To all communities that take action and form groups in the spirit of direct democracy, we offer support and resources.
Join us and make your voices heard!