The news from Occupy Seattle lately has been both heroic and tragic. The activists have gained personal strength through their struggles with an overzealous police department. Now they are taking their protests directly to the people who make the decisions which affect their lives on a daily basis.
The latest news from Occupy Seattle has been both heroic and tragic. Activists have gained personal strength from their struggles with an overzealous police department. Now the Occupy Seattle participants are taking their protests directly to the people who make the decisions which affect their lives on a daily basis.
It all began on November 15th when an 84 year old woman was pepper sprayed by police at an Occupy Seattle protest - Dorli Rainey. She immediately became the face of the movement and Dorli was celebrated by the national and international media.
A pregnant woman, Jennifer Fox, was also pepper sprayed that day and she says she has now suffered a miscarriage. I was there with both of them on that fateful day near Westlake Park. We were proud to be standing up for our sisters and brothers in New York City.
Unfortunately, I was also targeted with pepper spray by Seattle police at that demonstration.
I was able to protect my eyes for the most part, but the chemical agent was sprayed into my mouth and I accidentally swallowed some of it. The result was extreme pain and nausea. I was treated by volunteer medics who washed the chemical off my face and hands. The effects of the pepper spray caused me to vomit.
This incident was particularly confusing to me since I was actually standing on the sidewalk. I was committing no crime at the time. No civil disobedience was taking place where I stood.
The protest in Seattle was organized in solidarity with the folks at Occupy Wall Street who had been kicked out of Zucotti Park by the NYPD and Mayor Bloomberg.
In response to the pepper spraying incident, participants of Occupy Seattle and representatives from local clergy marched to the Seattle Police Department and demanded that they stop attacking peaceful demonstrators.
Occupy Seattle protesters also demanded that all records and documents pertaining to the city's crackdown on the group be made public.
Mayor Mike McGinn made a public apology to Dorli Rainey for the actions of the SPD on November 15th, 2001. This incident has hurt him politically. Some media pundits have written him off as a viable candidate for re-election.
On Nov. 21th a coalition of labor union members and Occupy Seattle folks picketed at the Westin Hotel where the Washington Council on International Trade was giving out awards to Congressmen Larsen, Smith and McDermott. The protesters were there to challenge the congressmen's support for free trade agreements which the activists say will outsource more US jobs.
One woman was able to get into the awards ceremony and grab the mic. Rachel Taber criticized the congressmen for supporting the recent free trade agreements before she was physically removed from the building by Seattle police.
On November 28th Occupy Seattle participants will converge on the Washington state capitol building in Olympia. They will be joining with groups from all over the state who will be there to fight draconian state budget cuts to social services and education. Many of the activists will also be calling for the legislature to close enormous tax loopholes for major corporations and wealthy individuals.
In spite of the many challenges they've had to face along the way, Occupy Seattle is still organizing for the future.