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Pictures | Occupied Stories - Part 2

Archive | Pictures

Photos: June 9th, Anti-Sexism and Nighttime Mayhem

Editor’s Note: This story is part of our ongoing first-person coverage of protests in Quebec against student debt, tuition hikes and Law 78, as well as actions elseware in solidarity to those causes.

Montreal, QC–At 5pm, activists gathered at Phillips Square for the anti-sexism demonstration. The manifestation was controversial among Montreal protesters because it explicitly advocated the abolition of sex work — prompting the moderator of the anti-capitalist CLAC (labor union association) listserv to issue an apology for disseminating information for the event.

The march stopped at various places to deliver speeches against Formula One’s chauvinist culture, like one at the Delta Centreville hotel, which condemned the business as a well-known spot for prostitutes to go with clients.

– Zachary Bell –

More photography by Zach at ReCovered

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Photos: June 8th, Bahrain Solidarity and Grand Prix Clashes

Editor’s Note: This story is part of our ongoing first-person coverage of protests in Quebec against student debt, tuition hikes and Law 78, as well as actions elseware in solidarity to those causes.

Montreal, QC–Around 6:30pm, the demonstrations began with a (noticeably) small protest at Dorchester Square aimed to show solidarity with the people of Bahrain.

The petite march ignored a call by the police to clear the streets, but complied when the troops moved to enforce it. Still in good spirits, the protesters sang a French chant meaning “on the sidewalk, until victory.”

– Zachary Bell –

More photography by Zach at ReCovered

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Photos: June 7th Nude-In

Editor’s Note: This story is part of our ongoing first-person coverage of protests in Quebec against student debt, tuition hikes and Law 78, as well as actions elseware in solidarity to those causes.

Montreal, QC–At 5pm, there was a demonstration at the corner of Notre Dame and des Seigneurs, which began with a megaphone announcement condemning the Grand Prix for its elitism and sexism. The protest was kettled as soon as it began, forcing a standstill.

By 5:45pm, police began selectively arresting individuals and pulling them back behind the police line. It was unclear whether this was for violating Law 78 (for example, by wearing masks), or for some other reason. Many protesters resisted, and some were successfully “de-arrested” — prevented from being pulled across the police line.

– Zachary Bell –

More photography by Zach at ReCovered

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Photos: Second Eviction Defense of the Cruz Family Home

Minneapolis, MN–At approximately 4am on Friday morning, 20-30 law enforcement officers from the Hennepin Country Sheriff’s Office raided the Cruz family home in South Minneapolis in order to follow through with an earlier eviction attempt two days before. Sheriff’s deputies rammed the front door open and quickly moved through the home. They created a large perimeter around the home, not letting anyone near on the sidewalk or on the street. They blocked traffic for the entire block and would not allow anyone near the home in the alley behind it.

For almost a month, the local Occupy Homes movement has maintained a presence in the foreclosed home. The house belongs to the Cruz family who are staying elsewhere since receiving their eviction notice. With the consent of the family, Occupy Homes has been using the house as a local social center while occupying the home and protesting an impending eviction.

Some people staying inside the home left willingly, while five people locked themselves to various objects throughout the home. The sheriff’s deputies used saws, jack-hammers and other tools to remove the remaining protesters. Ultimately, all five people were removed from the home and arrested.

Approximately 50 supporters arrived to protest the raid and eviction. The scene was tense at moments when people confronted the police line or when the police decided that the protesters should move further from the home. Eventually, a group of people ran around back to outflank the deputies. Some of them jumped the back fence in order to link arms and surround the home. Around this time, with all people removed from the home, and the doors boarded up, the sheriff’s deputies left the scene.

After all law enforcement left, the home was reopened for further occupation.

– Peter Leeman –

Editor’s Note: This is only a sampling of Peter Leeman’s photos of the eviction defense. To view the full series, visit Leeman’s website, which also features images from the first eviction defense. You may view the photos from the slideshow above at our Flickr page.

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WI’s Overpass Light Brigade and Bridging the Embankments

The story was originally published at The Daily Kos.

When cars and trucks pass underneath our glowing signs, the drivers and passengers retain a memory of the message, distributing it to both nearby and far-flung locations. We hold the letters one-side-by-each, short-form messages of protest against long-form extremism, semaphores of solidarity picked up and swept across social media. This is the OLB, “coming soon to an overpass near you,” a group dedicated to tactics of visibility and voice, the importance of physical witness, community coherence and the power of purposeful play.

Last evening even the 80% prediction of rain broke in our favor. The 20% chance of no-rain won the early evening. It was odd being out and not feeling bone-cold. We had scoped out a pedestrian overpass we had never occupied before, a long arcing structure built over an extremely wide section of Milwaukee’s I-43, a bridge from East to West within an African American neighborhood of Milwaukee. These often overlooked structures are like fords in roaring rivers, stitching two banks of bisected communities back together.

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More than twenty people showed up, so we were able to bring out multiple messages. “WALKER LIES” was newly possible because of the addition of a nice “S” to our lexicon, and as more people arrived we later spelled out “WALKER IS JOHN DOE,” referring to the ongoing investigation into campaign corruption that has enmeshed Walker and his closest Milwaukee County cronies. It is good to keep this reminder floating over the freeways. Our hope is that people either say “Oh, yeah… that issue is still out there!” or “Can you tell me what that whole JOHN DOE thing is all about?” Our first message of the night was pretty self-evident if you are paying attention. His lips move: he’s usually lying.

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In order to get the beautiful photographs, I need to get down to highway level with my camera on tripod. The big gap in the fencing made this easy, and two of us were down taking pictures when the police came. Ugh-oh. Two squad cars pulled over, disco balls blazing and two Milwaukee County Sheriffs climbed the embankment towards us. They were fairly surly. I stood patiently waiting, taking pictures while I could, wondering what was coming next. I heard the lead cop in his walkie-talkie, “kkkssssshhh, yeah, we’ve got a bunch of protestors at the bridge…..  kkksssshhh…Trespassing on right of way….   kkkssshhhhh…. Complaints called in….” Complaints, I now understand, are called in whenever we come out. The frequency of police presence is dramatically rising in proportion to the increase in our national visibility.

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They ran our licenses, told us to get off the easement. They reaffirmed our right to be on the overpasses, however, which was reassuring after our Portage incident.  “You can be up there as long as you don’t affix those signs!” the Sheriff curtly stated. “Which is why,” I pointed out, “we have all those people up there, each holding a sign…”

I do understand the logic of our embankment banishment, even though we were way up on the side, quite far from the freeway. The problem is in getting the pictures. You’ve got to get close to get the shots. I ask myself, “What would Werner Herzog do?” and begin to think of ninja gear, camo-paint and invisibility cloaks. Proceed and be bold…

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When the Milwaukee Police came last Wednesday out near State Fair Park on I-43, the first squad car parked and just watched. It was a little disconcerting. We were coming off the bridge to end our action, and figured it would be fun to line up the signs against the fence right in front of the squad, in order to make a unique display for the officer. Once thusly arrayed, I went up to the cruiser. The officer rolled down her window, and I said to her, “I’m sorry, are we causing a problem for you?” (which I think is more effective than “Are we doing anything wrong?”). We both laughed because I caught her with her cell phone out, taking pictures of the signs. She was going to post them on Facebook. She couldn’t share her political feelings with me, but she was really nice and really friendly.

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A few minutes later when the paddy-wagon came ready to check us out or roll us in, she was already on our side. The officers talked among themselves for a while, looked at our signs, looked at our motley crew of kids and elders and everyone in between, all down-home Wisconsinites. After a while they said goodnight and left. It was all pretty gentle, yet their presence was, of course, a large part of the communication.

Last night, our encounter with the law was a lot less friendly. Everything was fine, but it was pretty terse and tense. OLB gently yet insistently pushes at the constraints around public assembly and peaceful protest. We are not there to argue with cops. We are there simply to be there, and to be visible.

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The message seems to be getting out. After being featured in the Sunday NYTs two weeks ago, our Facebook “reach” shot to 69,503 people, far-flung across 20 different countries. (Please “Like” our page here.) Care2 did a nice article about us this morning. We’re talking with a number of other protest groups around the country about possible splinter-group collaborations, and we are booked to appear throughout the state at events and overpasses. A lot is happening, and we try to balance it with other pressing duties of job and family.

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Yesterday, at an academic conference at UW Milwaukee about the Occupy Movement, a student asked one of the panelists, “What does success look like to you?” The panelist, a brilliant radical Marxist (the kind of guy the rightwing is really talking about when they say the word “socialist professor”) got kind of esoteric and deconstructed the framing of the question and its blunt lack of nuance. I like direct questions, so as a moderator, I jumped in. “This movement succeeds or fails,” I said, “on whether it opens up new networks that bridge partitioned and multiple communities, including my own and your own. Success, for me, is about the opening of these new social spaces. The great thing about this model is how straightforward it is. It is all about process. All you have to do is go out and engage. By engaging, bridges will be built. It is that easy…”

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It is that easy. Build bridges with diverse communities. Take the overpass as metaphor and arc yourself across bisecting structures. We can do this. It will take time, but through action and creativity and play we can model the same new and old solutions that are always within reach.


Overpass Light Brigade in Tosa from Noise of Rain on Vimeo.
-Noise of Rain-

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Faces of an Occupation

19 September 2011, New York–A group of people, no more than one hundred, had congregated in Zuccotti Park two days before amidst the almost total indifference of people passing by.

No journalists, no television, no microphones—only their voices and faces.

These portraits bear witness to the beginning of Occupy Wall Street in Zuccotti Park. They regard dreamers who believe in an idea.

No one could have imagined that in the space of a few weeks, those involved in Occupy Wall Street would have entered people’s homes all over the world through newspapers and television.

Daniele Corsini, photographer

View a selection of images on our Flickr page, or the full photo series at Corsini’s website.

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#M24: Let Freedom Spring

Occupiers assembled last Saturday in solidarity with victims of police brutality. A group of hundreds that included city council members marched for hours from Liberty Plaza to join hundreds more at Union Square. On the way, they shared messages on the right to assemble with evocative banners, chanting, and performance art. Photographer Rose Magno documents this expressive and coherent culture of a civil society coming together in peaceful protest.

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