Entries in Protesters (27)


Newtown Victims' Families Join Gun-Control Activists on DC March

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Near-freezing temperatures didn't stop several thousand gun-control activists from bearing their pickets on Saturday. Carrying signs emblazoned with "Ban Assault Weapons Now" and the names of gun violence victims, the demonstration was organized as a response to the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn. last month.

Walking in silence, the demonstrators trudged between Capitol Hill and the Washington Monument over a thin layer of melting snow. They were joined by politicians and some families of the Newtown victims.

March organizer Shannon Watts said the event was for the "families who lost the lights of their lives in Newtown, daughters and sons, wives and mothers, grandchildren, sisters and brothers gone in an unfathomable instant."

"Let's stand together and use our voices, use our votes to let legislators know that we won't stand down until they enact common sense gun control laws that will keep our children out of the line of fire," she told demonstrators.

Watts founded One Million Moms for Gun Control after the killing of 20 first graders and six adults at the Connecticut elementary school in December. In a profile with The New York Times Ms. Watts said her 12 year-old-son had suffered panic attacks after learning of last summer's Aurora, Colo. theater shooting, leaving her at an impasse over how to talk to him about the latest tragedy.

Also among the speakers was a survivor of the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre, Collin Goddard.

"We need to challenge any politician who thinks it's easier to ask an elementary school teacher to stand up to a gunman with an AR-15 than it is to ask them to stand up to a gun lobbyist with a checkbook," he said.

The demonstration comes amid a push by progressive lawmakers to enact stricter gun control measures as a response to the trend of recent mass killings, although any hypothetical bill would likely face strong opposition in Congress.

Representative Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) was among the demonstrators on Saturday.

"The idea that people need high-capacity magazines that can fire 30, 50, 100 rounds has no place in a civilized society," he said, adding "Between the time we're gathered here right now and this time of day tomorrow, across America, 282 Americans will have been shot."

The congressman was quoting statistics compiled by the Brady Campaign to Stop Gun Violence.

Last week President Obama proposed a sweeping overhaul of federal measures regulating gun ownership, including a universal background check system for sales, banning assault weapons,  and curbing the amount of ammunition available in weapon clips.

An ABC News/Washington Post poll released Thursday found 53 percent of Americans viewed Obama’s gun control plan favorably, 41 percent unfavorably. The divisive subject was visible on Saturday, as a handful of gun-rights advocates also turned out on the National Mall to protest what they believe would be infringements on their Second Amendment liberties.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


UC Davis Settlement: Pepper-Sprayed Students Will Get $30K

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(DAVIS, Calif.) -- The University of California regents will pay about $1 million to 21 UC Davis current and former students who were pepper-sprayed during a peaceful campus protest last November.

A video of the incident that went viral shows an officer casually walking up to and aiming a thick stream of the spray directly into the faces of seated students at close range during an Occupy rally.  The incident triggered outrage and an investigation by the university.

In the settlement, each student who filed suit will each receive $30,000 and a handwritten apology from UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi.

In addition, the university system has agreed to pay $250,000 for the students’ legal fees.

According to the deal reached earlier this month, the university has set aside $100,000 for additional students hit in the incident who wish to submit claims as a part of the class-action suit.  Those students are set to receive up to $20,000 each depending of the number who come forward.

In the agreement obtained by ABC News, students involved in the November incident will receive “reasonable assistance and counseling” for the “academic performance issues that allegedly arose as a result of the incident.”


The settlement comes as a result of the Nov. 18 Occupy protest at UC Davis.  Students encamped in the university’s quad in protest of rising tuition costs, were warned to leave before being pepper sprayed by campus police.

According the settlement, the university believes “they acted reasonably and with good intentions, without violating the rights.”

The papers filed Wednesday morning will not become official until approved by a federal judge.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Occupy Protester Arrested Outside Republican National Convention

Occupy protesters in Tampa. Joe Raedle/Getty Images(TAMPA, Fla.) -- Protesters associated with the Occupy movement blocked traffic outside the Tampa, Fla., arena where the Republican National Convention kicked off Monday, leading to one arrest and police pursuit of several others who were "running through the downtown area," the chief of police said.

A spontaneous march made up of 25 to 30 masked protesters originated about 3 p.m. at the "Romneyville" tent city, several blocks from the Tampa Bay Times Forum, site of the convention.

"Individuals splintered off from that and have been basically running through the downtown area and we're monitoring them right now just to ensure that everyone is safe and that there's no damage in the downtown area, but so far everything has been very, very successful," Tampa police chief Jane Castor said.

The man, Dominick Delarosa, 20, was arrested when he refused to remove a mask at the request of police.

"There was a group of probably 25 to 30 individuals and many of them put on their masks," Castor said at a news conference. "They were told repeatedly by officers that was a violation of the event ordinance, that they weren't allowed to wear those masks in the event zone.

"Everyone took those masks off with the exception of one individual. The officers again, gave him plenty of warning and leeway to remove that mask. He refused and he was placed under arrest."

By 4:30 p.m., traffic outside the convention center was stalled. Hundreds of officers in riot gear surrounded the protesters, leading to delays to and from the forum.

The protests came at the end of an otherwise-anticlimactic first day of the convention.

What was to be an opening day of pomp and partying stretching into the night instead lasted all of one minute, as the GOP put on hold its plans to nominate Mitt Romney while the Gulf Coast hunkers down in preparation for Tropical Storm Isaac.

This year's convention was to be a carefully scripted affair, tightly packing in speeches by many of the party's boldest names.

By losing a day of events because of travel delays and bigger fears that the storm would hit Tampa directly, many speakers were rescheduled or simply canceled.

Democrats also have set up outside the convention, hunkering down in a "war room" to respond in real time to comments made during the event.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


NATO Protesters Crash Chicago Couple’s Wedding Shoot

ABC News(CHICAGO) -- Every bride likes to be the center of attention and draw a crowd on her big day, but even the most attention-craving bride can say enough is enough when the crowd is a frenzy of anti-NATO and anti-war protesters.

Such was the case for Chicago bride Beth Alberts, who had the unfortunate luck of having her once-in-a-lifetime event happen on the same day as the headline-grabbing NATO Summit that drew not just world leaders to the Windy City but thousands of protestors as well.

When Alberts and her new husband, Tim, walked out of the church Saturday and onto the city’s streets for a photo shoot, the couple found themselves in the middle of a mob and saw their would-be wedding shots photo-bombed by anonymous protesters walking through the city’s famous Daley Plaza.

Reacting to the scene, Beth Alberts can be heard saying, “Let’s get out of here” in video of the encounter posted by the Chicago Sun-Times.

The protests, which drew an estimated 2,000 people, were organized by the Occupy Chicago branch of the larger Occupy Wall Street movement to coincide with the NATO summit.

While the blue of police helmets was not likely what the bride had envisioned in the “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” wedding good luck, the Alberts were able to snap a few shots of themselves and their bridal party in the streets after a few trials, minus the mob.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Protesters Collide over Health Care Outside Supreme Court

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The space just outside the Supreme Court morphed into a figurative battlefield Tuesday afternoon as Tea Party forces rallied and confronted Obamacare supporters with screams, personal attacks and provocative signs.

The argument erupted in the middle of the de facto no-man’s land that had formed between Tea Partiers and a group of Obama supporters, far fewer than had been present at organized demonstrations Tuesday morning.

Tea Partiers and Obamacare supporters chanted and yelled at one another, making it impossible to hear anyone more than three feet away. The scene was drastically different from that of the morning, when Obamacare supporters sang in an orderly march, drowning out their conservative counterparts.

This time the attacks were personal -- on both sides.

One man and woman (who didn’t give their names) were arguing over the principles of patriotism and constitutionality. “He’s got a big mouth and he’s not qualified for the job,” the man said of Obama before spotting this reporter and asking: “What are you writing? Walk away.”

“We’re not trying to start a fight,” the woman replied. “We’re trying to start a conversation.”

Behind them, a young woman grabbed a megaphone being used by an anti-abortion activist to scream into it, “It’s a law against ugly women!”

Fifteen feet to the right, a half-dozen pro-Obama demonstrators directed signs in support of the president at Tea Party protesters who were standing a few yards away. A male protester hurled a comment about birth control at the Obama supporters.

“Unless you actually have a vagina, don’t go there, OK?” 30-year-old Fatma Hocaoglu screamed back.

Another man who refused to be identified joined the fray. “I don’t want to pay for her abortion!” he blared. “With Obamacare, we do. Yes, we do.”

A few minutes later, an Obamacare supporter and foe who were screaming at each other about their medical conditions broke the ranks to show each other their insurance cards.

The supporter, Barbara Stakes, a retiree from Pennsylvania with a seizure disorder classified as a “pre-existing condition,” explained that she had been turned down for health coverage.

“I pay for this,” she said. “I was rejected.”

Danny Mullaney, a former home-improvement contractor from Baltimore, replied by saying that he has cancer and won’t be able to get it treated under Obamacare.

“They’re going to kick me off,” he insisted. “They’re going to ration.”

Not that there weren’t scenes of harmony. As an organized Tea Party rally began to start, the animated activists stopped yelling and sang the national anthem.

So was Conner Beagle, a 10-year-old from Indiana whose mom brought him to Washington to witness the health care debate.

“In 20 years, I’ll remember this,” Conner said as his mom, Gina Lemasters, who works for the anti-Obamacare National Federation of Independent Business in Rep. Mike Pence’s district, shot video of him on her phone. “The health bill -- it’s history.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


‘Smoke Bomb’ Thrown at White House While Obamas Dine Out

Getty Images/Comstock Images(WASHINGTON) -- While the Obamas Tuesday evening were dining at one of D.C.’s finest steak houses, Occupy D.C. protesters gathered in front of the White House and, for a couple of hours, drew dozens of police cars to Pennsylvania Avenue and briefly kept the press on lockdown inside the building.

The cause of the commotion is unclear but it may have been a smoke bomb or firecracker hurled by a protester over the White House fence from Pennsylvania Avenue.

When the press covering the president’s dinner trip Tuesday evening returned to the White House they were then told they could not leave the building. The Secret Service told the reporters they were keeping them there while they investigated a “smoke bomb” that protesters may have thrown over the fence and onto the White House grounds.

Shortly after 8pm, @OccupyDCKst tweeted, “Someone just chucked something over the fence, it’s on fire. People are saying its a firecracker.”

U.S. Secret Service just told the ABC affiliate in Washington, WJLA, that it was indeed a smoke bomb. The Obamas weren’t at the White House at the time of the incident.

For some time Tuesday evening, the Secret Service had shut down Pennsylvania Avenue --  beyond the normal restrictions in that part of Pennsylvania Avenue is limited to pedestrians only.

The Obama’s evening out was in celebration of first lady Michelle Obama’s 48th birthday. She was celebrating Tuesday night with her husband and close friends at BLT Steak in Washington, just blocks from the White House.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Occupy Protests Disrupt West Coast Port Operations

KIMIHIRO HOSHINO/AFP/Getty Images(OAKLAND, Calif.) -- Some major ports along the West Coast were affected Monday when protesters from the Occupy Wall Street movement showed up uninvited to make life difficult for shippers and truckers in an event called "Occupy the Ports."

Occupy Wall Street said the point of the rallies at ports that included Seattle, Portland, Ore., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland and Long Beach, Calif., was to once again shine a light on the economic woes that have beset the overwhelming majority of Americans they've dubbed the "99-percenters."  In fact, the demonstrations stretched down as far south as the Port of Houston where protesters clashed with police.

But those who certainly aren't in the group's demonized "1 percent" were just collateral damage to the protesters, whose actions spawned delays that hit truckers -- not CEOs -- in their wallets. Port workers vented their frustration with the protest, which halted or disrupted operations in some cases, costing workers a day's pay and fines for truckers who were liable for late deliveries.

Unions complained that they weren't notified first about the demonstrations and how much they'd cost the average port worker in a day's wage.

Occupy Wall Street was also showing its contempt for Goldman Sachs Group Inc., which owns a stake in the largest cargo-terminal operator.  About 250 people in New York City tried to block the entrance to Goldman Sachs' headquarters on Wall Street as police only allowed those with identification to enter the building.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Occupy LA Cleanup May Cost Over $1 Million, Mayor Says

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- As a chain link fence and concrete barricades surrounded the City Hall Park that Occupy Los Angeles protesters called home before an overnight police raid removed them, one of the movement’s lead organizers vowed the fight would continue.

Just after midnight Wednesday, 1,400 police officers raided the park encampment and arrested 292 demonstrators who refused to follow an order to disperse.

“Occupying a patch of land adjacent to City Hall was not sustainable over time because of public health reasons,” Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa said during a news conference Wednesday.  “Anybody who went through that park knows it was not an exaggeration.  It was not hyperbole.  It was and is a public health hazard.  That’s why you saw police officers in hazmat suits.”

Villaraigosa said the protesters had to be removed as well “to make sure that everyone has access to City Hall steps.”  On Wednesday, he and Police Chief Charlie Beck thanked both law enforcement and the demonstrators for a relatively peaceful day.

Villaraigosa said that sanitation workers had been working throughout the night in the park, which was littered by trash and flattened tents, and smelled of urine.

“Replacing the lawn will cost us a lot of money,” he told reporters Wednesday.  He said the cost of the raid and the park’s repair “may go beyond a million [dollars], certainly.”

In a statement earlier in the day, Villaraigosa said that the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority had previously walked through the park to assess the needs of those who had nowhere to go.  He added that during the park’s closure, a First Amendment area would remain open on the Spring Street City Hall steps.

Mario Brito, a lead organizer of Occupy Los Angeles, said during a news conference Wednesday that activists would start occupying the neighborhoods where bank executives have homes.  He also said demonstrators were calling for a moratorium on home foreclosures.

Villaraigosa said Wednesday that he expected more Occupy protests.

“If their movement is to move beyond this stage, it will have to be peaceful,” he said.  “Working together, we can respect the right of people to speak out against the government, against injustices.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Occupy Los Angeles Protesters Ordered to Evict Encampment

Alex Stone/ABC News(LOS ANGELES) -- Hundreds of police officers moved in on Occupy Los Angeles protesters camped out at a park near City Hall early Wednesday morning, ordering them to leave their encampment or face arrest.

The LAPD gave the order to dispense shortly after midnight.  Officers were seen wearing what looked like white HAZMAT suits, with gun belts on the outside and latex gloves, as they went in to clean up the camp and tear down tents.

Protesters who refused to leave were arrested with plastic handcuffs; some were even carried out.  As of 3:30 a.m. PT, 200 people had been arrested, according to LAPD Chief Charlie Beck.

In a statement, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said, "Once the park is cleared, it will be repaired and returned to all Angelenos to exercise their First Amendment rights."

In the meantime, Villaraigosa said "a First Amendment area will remain open on the Spring Street City Hall steps" while the park is closed.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Occupy LA Protesters Defy Deadline to Vacate

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Occupy protesters in Los Angeles and Philadelphia stayed on past deadlines to vacate their respective encampments as officials backed away from plans to eject the tent cities that have sprung up to call attention to what the group calls economic injustices.

In Los Angeles, the crowd was estimated between 1,000-2,000 demonstrators just after midnight PT. Many of those people were sightseers, and as the night wore on, the crowd diminished.

Protesters have been camped out near City Hall for almost two months. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa ordered the protesters to vacate by midnight last night, but police announced overnight that they would not clear the park where protesters have set up about 485 tents.

Police did request that the crowd move off the street and onto the sidewalk so as not to block the morning rush hour traffic. Protesters ignored police requests, and at least four were arrested and taken away in handcuffs. Protests were mainly peaceful, and no injuries were reported.

Around 5 a.m., Los Angeles Police Department officers in riot gear pushed people back onto the sidewalk. There was a standoff for about an hour to see if people would try to move onto the street, but they did not.

Hundreds of protesters still remain with their tents and belongings, carrying signs and chanting, making it clear that they have no intention of moving out of the park any time soon. Police Chief Charlie Beck said that authorities expect to eventually make arrests, according to ABC News affiliate KABC.

Occupy L.A. protesters said they'll be moving to the Ports of Los Angeles Dec. 12, KABC reported.

On the East Coast, a similar deadline was set by city officials for Occupy Philadelphia protesters to vacate the encampment where they have been staying for almost two months. But the deadline passed peacefully on Sunday night, as protesters held a meeting and police did not order them to leave.

In New York City two weeks ago, Mayor Bloomberg managed to clear Zuccotti Park of a large group of Occupy Wall Street protesters who had moved in for two months with camping equipment, tarps and tents. The protesters have been allowed back but their numbers have fallen since they can't enter with their gear.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio