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London | Occupied Stories

Tag Archive | "london"

Second Night at British Consolate #AssangeNYC #SleepfulProtest


Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared at assangenyc.org.

New York, NY–I am currently writing this blog piece, inside England. Well not literally, but legally speaking. I am currently under the roof of the British Consulate, seeking (non political) refuge from the rainstorm here in New York City on 3rd avenue and 51st street. For Julian Assange, the thin line that divides him between the Ecuadorian embassy and Britain Proper literally is a matter of life and death. British Police have been ordered to arrest Assange the moment he steps off Ecuadorian territory. If he is arrested and sent to Sweden (with the advice of Karl Rove) he’ll likely be extradited to the US, where our government may indict him on conspiracy/espionage charges, which could result in execution by the state.

I am currently completing my second night here at my promptu call-out indefinite Occupation of British Consulate in NYC, in solidarity with Julian Assange. Within minutes of tweeting it out on @OccupyWallStNYC, Russia_Today mentioned it, and it started getting many “guests”. Later, Michael Moore and the Guardian mentioned it as well.

The Tweet heard around the World

It was really exciting seeing how one tweet, later turned into multiple other occupations, from Los Angeles, South California to Sydney and Ecuador. I inspired some, and many inspired me to make that tweet and promptu occupation  in the first place.

Our single demand for this occupation is “We will not leave, until Assange can leave.” It is not the only demand I have, but the consequences of that one demand would restructure society in a domino effect.

I acknowledge there is nothing immediately practical about a 24/7 occupation. There are logistical and legal constraints, as well as limited Internet and electricity. Yet, there is something highly symbolic, and sentimental, about refusing to leave the “sight” of the oppressors, until they change. To quote Frederick Douglass: “Power concedes nothing without a demand”

I also see it as an opportunity to continue the dialogue globally, pertaining not just Assange, but also Bradley Manning, war profiteering criminals, repression of the state etc.

I envision different organizations and communities volunteering everyday to give teach ins, skill-shares about activism, political mobilization, harnessing powers of social media and more. It can be funky too, using film projectors to broadcast on the walls of the consulate, films such as Wiki Rebels or Assange: Sex, Lies and Sweden or even Collateral Murder. Let us celebrate Ecuador’s brave motion to continue to house and protect Assange. Nothing like declaring America’s independence from England (for a second time).

Contrary to previous experiences with organizing political protests, the police here do not see this as a threat to their or the Mayor’s legitimacy, and thus have largely left us alone. That may change when they see we are not leaving for good, until our demand is met, but we shall see. The fight here is not directed at the Police state, but make no mistake, the Police state are a firm branch in the tree of the very fascism we fight. Our occupation is participatory, and if you or your organization are in line with our demand, then this occupation is yours. Join us. Change us. Expect us.

We are in front of British Consulate, 845 3rd Avenue New York, NY 10022.

Live Updates from our Occupiers: https://twitter.com/#!/search/realtime/%23assangenyc

https://www.facebook.com/assangenyc

Website: http://www.assangenyc.org/

https://twitter.com/AssangeNYC

-Yoni Miller-

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Critical Mass: Now Cycling is a Crime


Editor’s note: This story originally appeared at the Occupied Times.

The following is a personal account from one of the cyclists arrested for participating in Critical Mass on Friday 27 July, during the opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games™.

Critical Mass is a celebration of cycling, taking place on the last Friday of every month. A global event, it started in San Francisco in 1992 and came to London two years later. Being a keen cyclist, I was really looking forward to last Friday’s Critical Mass on the eve of the Olympics.

Hundreds of cyclists turned up at the starting point at Waterloo Bridge on the South Bank. The atmosphere was buzzing despite the presence of police, who had imposed unreasonable, disproportionate conditions on the event, including using powers under Section 12 of the Public Order Act to stop us to cycling north of the river.

We cycled peacefully over Blackfriars Bridge in defiance of the police who had parked their van across the bridge going north, blocking off lots of traffic and causing a hold up. Many of us outmaneuvered the police, which is quite easy when you’re on a bicycle, and continued the journey to Stratford High Street in East London, where many cyclists were eventually kettled.

Much of the journey was fun, with bystanders cheering and waving, but along the route I witnessed police aggression and antagonism on Bethnal Green Road as they pushed us away from their vehicles and accelerated away – recklessly endangering peaceful cyclists. There were also reports of police and other cars ramming into cyclists, and footage on YouTube shows police pepper spraying an elderly disabled man on a tricycle.

The police eventually arrested 182 cyclists. I was one of them, bailed without charge until, conveniently, after the games end in late September. The policing of Critical Mass demonstrated to me who the police serve; not innocent people who want to go about their lawful business free from oppressive interference from the State, but corporate interests bent on airbrushing out any possible dissent from the spectacle of the Olympics™.

That impression was reinforced when Sergeant Seffer QK75 told me he knew I was involved with “that Occupy lot”, which was “further evidence that I had committed offences.”

During the six hours I spent in a grotty cell, I was reminded of the words of Olympic Black Power hero John Carlos, who spoke in London recently and told us to repeat after him: “I am not afraid to offend my oppressor”.

– Melanie Strickland –

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