Entries in Occupy (2)


Occupy's 2012 Agenda: Visiting Campaign Cities

KIMIHIRO HOSHINO/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- "Occupy" protest organizers say they are using the winter to hone in on specific events and presidential campaign events instead of occupying town centers and financial institutions.

Caitlin Manning, 55, an Occupy Oakland organizer, said the group has two specific goals in January. First, it plans to occupy a building by Jan. 28, saying protesters are continually being "harassed" at their outdoor encampment at Oscar Grant Plaza for "ridiculous" legal reasons.

Second, the group is planning to stop a specific grain ship from docking to a port in Longview, Wash., in January.

Unlike the Occupy the Ports campaign on Dec. 12, which caused disruption in West Coast ports such as Oakland and Seattle, Manning said the upcoming disruption is targeting a specific grain company that is "wrongfully" using nonunion labor and will call attention to the negative role the company plays in global food production.

Occupy protesters have voiced their concerns at several presidential campaign events, including disrupting President Obama during a speech at a high school in Manchester, N.H., on Nov. 22, and occupying one of his campaign offices in Des Moines, Iowa.

 The Occupy protesters make it clear they do not endorse any particular candidate, and they do not discriminate based on party when it comes to criticism.

"I think the typical OWS person is really upset with both parties and the whole idea of a two-party system," Pete Dutro, an Occupy Wall Street finance committee member in New York City, said. "It basically has turned into a campaign club ... not about getting things done. It's about gathering resources to get elected."

This week, protesters heckled and held protest signs addressing Republican candidate frontrunners, Mitt Romney in Littleton, N.H., and Newt Gingrich in Des Moines.

The candidates are campaigning in cities ahead of the first primaries. The Iowa caucus is on Jan. 3 and the New Hampshire primary on Jan. 10.

Dutro said protesters will broach campaign finance reform more frequently.

Ryan Hirsch, a self-described "concerned citizen" active in the Occupy New Hampshire movement, said Occupy the New Hampshire Primary will be a four-day event starting Jan. 6 that will include discussions, general assemblies and parades, to bring attention to a wide range of issues.

Nick Espinosa, 25, an Occupy Minneapolis organizer, said the Occupy movement is "bigger than elections." They are still focusing on the "greed" of financial institutions and corporations that sparked Occupy Wall Streeton Sept. 17.

"It's bigger than politics as we know it. It's a way to re-frame the way we look at these issues and the values we hold as a society," he said. "I hope to be part of a movement that pushes politicians to serve the interests of the people and not the corporations."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


‘Occupy’ Protests Cost Cities Millions

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- With tensions mounting daily, the name Scott Olsen has become a national rallying cry for the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Olsen, a 24-year-old Iraq veteran, is in serious condition after suffering a fractured skull during clashes with police in Oakland.

He joined the protests after work Tuesday night and suffered his head wound when police fired tear gas into the crowd during the crackdown. People who came to his aid were then scattered by a gas canister tossed by police.

In an effort to show solidarity with Olsen and their counterparts in Oakland, protesters in New York City marched to City Hall on Wednesday night. The demonstration led to a tense confrontation with police and 10 arrests.

On Thursday, the police union said officers had showed restraint but the union would sue any protester who injured an officer.

So are the confrontations entering a dangerous new stage?

Many city officials are under pressure from constituents tired of unsightly tent cities, dead grass and dangerous conditions. The cost to already struggling municipalities, which must protect and clean up after the protesters, is soaring.

“We know for a fact we’ve crossed the $300,000 threshold in terms of money spent so far for this operation,” said Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.

In San Francisco, the bill is more than $100,000.

“It’s just something that has to happen, it’s a worldwide movement,” said protester Dustin Sneed, who has been at the San Francisco protest since the beginning.

Across the country, the figures are growing. In New York City, overtime costs are $3.4 million. In Minneapolis, the sheriff’s department reports spending $200,000. And in Boston, the tally is $2 million and counting.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 

ABC News Radio