Occupy Wall Street: Mayors play good cop / bad cop; Seattle shutdown?

  • Published on October 12th, 2011

Mayors of occupied cities across the US are now playing a game of good cop/bad cop with the demonstrators. Follow our rules and you can stay… step out of line and you WILL be arrested.

The latest: In Seattle, Mayor McGinn met with the protestors on Monday and expressed solidarity, even offering a spot at City Hall for camping (with a list of conditions). But the original occupation, at Westlake Park, was told they would have to move. The occupiers, in General Assembly, voted to occupy both spots… and at this hour, at least two arrests have been made at Westlake.

“We’ve let it go for a few days, but at some point we have to say enough,” said Eric Frideli, Seattle Park Department Deputy Superintendent.

Follow Occupy SeattleLivestream (Video) Seattle Police scanner (audio) or alternate website Twitter |Facebook

UPDATE 11:22 pm PDT: Dominic Holden (@dominicholden) tweets: “Every cop left the scene–cars and all–at strike of 11 pm, just as all tv news stations were about to start live reports”. Apparently they’re learning – last night, when they kept demonstrators up all night, they just looked like dicks.

UPDATE 11:19 pm PDT: Police scanner reports a “Debris Removal Crew” is in position.

UPDATE 10:58 pm PDT: Reports continue to come in that police are massing in the area.

UPDATE 10:45 PDT: Police shut down the Westlake transit station. No buses in or out. Police may intend to use the station as a staging area.

UPDATE 10:36 pm PDT: There were arrests, but Seattle Police may be backing down.

Which all leads to the question: If they are good little sheep and follow the establishment rules, is it really an angry, mass-movement demonstration?

“The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich and the poor alike to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.” – Anatole France, 1844-1924

New York City

UPDATE: Not so much. First they lie about the park being “filthy and unsanitary” (it isn’t); now they’re setting conditions on how the occupation can continue. Basically, it can’t: Occupiers can return to the park, but no tents or sleeping bags allowed. Also, no lying down. See: Mayor Bloomberg brings enhanced interrogation techniques to Occupy Wall Street

At the original Occupy Wall Street in the financial district, Mayor Bloomberg showed up today to tell occupiers there was going to a powerwashing of Zucotti park on Friday. But despite earlier rumors that they would have to move out for the day, it now looks like the cleaners will handle one section of park at at time, minimizing disruption. Isn’t that nice?

Check out this report from CNBC:  “Things are so well organized in the park that it is easy to imagine—if they are able to figure out a way to tough out the cold and snow of the coming winter—that Occupy Wall Street might last indefinitely.” Kristen Gwynne also has a good report on how things are running.  Watch a good Youtube vid of Van Jones talking to Occupy Wall Street.

Earlier today, about 100 protesters demonstrated at “too big to fail” JP Morgan/Chase Bank. Four were arrested.  And Ben & Jerry’s distributed free ice creamFollow Occupy New York: website | Twitter| Livestream |Facebook


Mayor Kassim Reed says the Occupy Atlanta has until 5 pm Monday – and then they’ll have to leave Woodruff Park.  No word yet on any offer of alternative space. “Atlanta Police entered into dialog with Occupy participants [yesterday] and assured people that there would be no surprise attacks or aggression if the police were given the order to enforce ordinances to remove the camp. ” Follow Occupy Atlanta: website TwitterLivestream |Facebook


In order to get sanitation services (portapotties), Occupy Dallas applied for a permit. The City Council said “Here’s your permit…but you have to get a $1 million insurance policy. Riiiiight.

“I have spent half of the day trying to find an insurance company that will write an insurance policy for something like this, and guess what? There isn’t any, so this business of asking for a million dollars worth of insurance is asking for something that’s an impossibility to comply with — simple as that,” Occupy Dallas attorney Cameron Gray said.

The city revoked the permit and said they would start enforcing park curfews and the prohibition against sleeping in public. Dallas PD surrounded the park last night, but there were no arrests. So now… Occupy Dallas has filed an injunction in Federal Court seeking to stay indefinitely. This should be fun… the judges on that circuit are fairly conservative, but if they block free speech for the Occupy movement, it might rebound on the Tea Party and other conservative darlings.

Dallas PD says there will be no arrests while this goes through the courts… look for this tactic to be tried in other cities!

Follow Occupy Dallas: website TwitterLivestream |Facebook

Los Angeles

The City Council voted to support Occupy LA. You know how mayors and police keep insisting they have to “enforce the law”? For the first week, LA occupiers were forced to move their tents onto the sidewalks at night in order to stay within the law (which said they couldn’t sleep in the parks at night). But after a week of that nonsense, City Council voted… to change the law. “”Stay as long as you need, we’re here to support you,” Eric Garcetti, president of the City Council, announced to the protesters.

And in a prime example of actually, you know, DOING SOMETHING, the council is also moving forward on a Responsible Banking Ordinance. While not going so far as to boycott the too-big-to-fail megabanks, it at least requires any banks that do business with the City of Los Angeles to “report annually on their lending activities and community reinvestment goals”.

Three “very supportive Hollywood producers” donated a full media center. Celebs from Keith Olberman to Danny Glover have showed up to offer support. Follow Occupy LA: Website Twitter| Livestream |Facebook | Youtube


While police shut them down brutally when Occupy Boston attempted to expand to a second location on Monday night, Mayor Tom Menino says he’ll allow protesters to continue indefinitely in Dewey Square “as long as they don’t break the law”.

Meanwhile, City Council members are whining about the huge price tag – estimated at over $20 million – of sending all those cops down there to harass the occupiers. Simple solution: DON’T have the cops harass the occupiers. Follow Occupy Boston: website | twitter | yfrog | Livestream |Facebook

San Francisco

Police and city council have been walking a fine line between being supportive and “enforcing the law”. But there’s no talk of shutting down the occupation as of now.

Protestors blockaded a too-big-to-fail Wells Fargo Bank this morning. Police don’t like it when you block access for customers. Eleven demonstrators were arrested, cited, released… and they then returned to the blockade.

Naomi Klein came to the camp and gave an interview (available on YoutubeFollow Occupy San Francisco: Website Twitter|Livestream |Facebook | Youtube

Portland, Oregon

We do things differently on the West Coast. Mayor Sam Adams has participated (take that, Tea Partiers! We’ve got Sam Adams!). Police not only have worked well in cooperation with Occupy Portland organizers, but there are unconfirmed reports that off-duty cops openly come down and mix and support with the demonstrators.

That said, it’s not all sweetness and light. Demonstrators have shut down part of Southwest Main Street and have been occupying it, and Adams has warned that this can’t last (imagine the response in Boston or New York if they’d closed a major street to traffic!). Mayor Adams tweeted the movement is “about economic inequity, not street closures.” But when a pickup truck accidentally drove into the demonstration – the driver said he didn’t know what was going on – Police helped clear a space so he could back up and take a different road!

Police Captain Sara Westbrook told the Oregonian there are no plans to shut down the protestrs, “But if we do take what will be lawful action, what I’m asking is, ‘Can we do it nonviolently? Can we do it with the least amount of force? Can we do it respecting the peoples’ voices.’ ”

I like Oregon.  Follow Occupy Portland: Website Twitter|Livestream |Facebook | Youtube

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About the Author

Jeremy Bloom is the Editor of RedGreenAndBlue. He lives in New York, where he combines his passion for the environment with his passion for film, and is working on making the world a better place.