Sunday, November 06, 2011

Occupy Seattle Fights Back

Nov. 3, 2011 Puget Sound Anarchists

Yesterday, in response to a call out to march on the banks in solidarity
with Oakland, 100 people marched into the streets from the Occupy Seattle
camp to Chase Bank down the street. Inside the building 5 people locked
themselves to each other, shutting down the bank. When the crowd arrived
the police were already blocking the doors. People chanted, yelled, and
gave speeches of encouragement toward their comrades inside. Everyone was
waiting for the police to drag them out.

Once it was clear that the occupiers were being forced out, people began
to block the police van, sitting and laying in front it. In this moment,
chaos began, perhaps a cop pushed someone, perhaps someone pushed a cop,
it's unclear but once the occupiers were pushed inside the van, people
began screaming louder, and pushing harder. Small skirmishes broke out
between protestors and the police. Leading the pigs to release their first
hit of pepperspray of the day. This only further motivated people. Within
these moments, people were running around, pushing cops, helping their
comrades from the ground and pulling them back from the police. Several
people were dearrested in the process.

With this flow of energy, the protestors flooded into the street in front
of Chase. People linked arms, pushed the cops back, while others engaged
in small fights with the police. Many pigs were punched in the face or hit
with bottles. More pepperspray flew.

During this melee people pushed the cops and took the streets, eventually
kicking the cops out.

This is a huge victory for a movement that rarely lets its festering rage
run wild.

Later, people marched (always in the streets) back down toward the camp,
and then downtown to Westlake to celebrate their victory.

A few hours later, people left from Westlake to march on the CEO of Chase
a few blocks away. Those from earlier in the day immediately rushed to the
streets, leaving the peace marshals and union bureaucrats on the
sidewalks. This may have been embarrassing for them, so soon enough they
also joined in the streets.

When the protestors reached the hotel where the hated 1% was, it was
protected by police barricades, yet few cops. At this moment the people
could have stormed the barricades, and forced themselves inside, perhaps
actually confronting the 1% inside. But, no one did and the cops
regrouped, surrounding the hotel. So, for many hours to come people
rattled the fences and screamed in the rain.

The police peppersprayed more people, someone threw a bottle, the people
stayed strong and wet. A few people were arrested (it's unclear for what)
and eventually everyone went home.

Some call it a victory. Some don't. Regardless, the protestors left on
their own accord and showed their commitment and sometimes their anger
toward the 1% and their dogs.

People are hungry for real confrontation, real resistance. The CEO may
have escaped this time, and the people may have let him but it's clear
after yesterdays small battles that something is growing and it just might

Street clashes, arrests as bank leader speaks

Despite a cold, relentless November rain Wednesday night, several hundred
Occupy Seattle protesters marched to the Sheraton Hotel in downtown
Seattle, where JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon was a keynote speaker at an
awards ceremony for the University of Washington's Foster School of

By Jeff Hodson and Jennifer Sullivan

Seattle Times staff reporters

He was a perfect target for the Occupy Seattle movement.

The top 1 percent of the top 1 percent was in town: Jamie Dimon, CEO of
JPMorgan Chase.

And despite a cold, relentless November rain Wednesday night, several
hundred people marched to the Sheraton Seattle Hotel downtown, where Dimon
was keynote speaker at an awards ceremony for the University of
Washington's Foster School of Business.

They stood outside and chanted slogans, while people inside sipped
cocktails and looked down from a reception area with curiosity.

"Banks got bailed out; we got sold out," the protesters shouted, their
words echoing off the downtown streets. "Shame on Chase," was another
popular chant.

Sixth Avenue in front of the hotel was closed to traffic for less than an
hour as protesters tried to block hotel entrances by locking arms and
standing two deep. Police used pepper spray to clear a side entrance near
the corner of Pike Street and Seventh Avenue so hotel patrons could enter
or leave.

"This whole bank thing is just crazy," said Mary McIntyre, a bar owner
whose eyes were teary after she had been pepper-sprayed.

She said she was in the process of taking her money out of another big
bank and putting it into a credit union.

Many protesters criticized banks such as Chase, which received $25 billion
in government bailout loans in 2008, while thousands of homeowners were
foreclosed upon.

They also pointed out Dimon's salary and compensation last year: $20.8
million, while wages stagnated for most of the nation's workers and as
unemployment soared.

After an hour, at about 7 p.m., the number of protesters began to dwindle,
but there were still more than 100 staking out the hotel. There were no
immediate reports of arrests Wednesday night.

But Wednesday afternoon, Seattle police arrested six people, five of whom
had sprawled across the floor inside a Chase Bank on Capitol Hill.

Outside, officers launched pepper spray, shoved protesters out of the way
and yanked others from under a police van during a tense 30-minute

The melee broke out as the arrested protesters were led, handcuffed, into
a police van.

As the conflict between police and protesters moved up and down Broadway,
about 100 protesters chanted about officers' actions and about the issues
of concern to their movement — corporate greed, big banks and the growing
disparity between the incomes of the nation's rich and its poor.

JPMorgan Chase took over the failed Washington Mutual in 2008 and
subsequently laid of thousands of WaMu employees. About 3,400 WaMu
employees in the bank's downtown Seattle headquarters lost their jobs, and
Chase vacated most of WaMu's downtown Seattle office space when it took

Phil Neel, an Occupy Seattle member, said the five protesters who occupied
the bank in the afternoon did so intending to be arrested.

Beforehand, the group held a brief rally and marched from its encampment
at Seattle Central Community College north toward the bank. Then, as a
larger group surrounded the bank, the five protesters, who had entered the
building earlier, got to the floor.

Neel, 23, of Seattle, said the goal was to shut down the bank for the
afternoon, and that is what happened.

He called banks "the churches of capitalism" and said "we're defiling that
holy ground in a sense."

After the protesters inside the bank were arrested, youths surrounded the
police van and started pounding on it. Police yanked the protesters lying
in the street out of the way, a move that spurred other protesters to
shove officers.

Soon, officers doused the crowd with pepper spray; one woman sat at
Broadway and East Thomas Street while other people poured water in her
eyes so she could see.

The fight between police and protesters continued south on Broadway, then
back north. When protesters reached the corner of East Harrison Street
they stood in a circle; some held hands and hugged. Then the group marched
south, back to Seattle Central Community College with police following
closely behind.

Protest organizers then told the group to head west down Pine Street,
toward Westlake Park, where they were to rally in advance of the evening
protest at the Sheraton.

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