Checking in with Occupy

occupySANTA CRUZ >  Occupy Santa Cruz protests at Wells Fargo

On Wednesday, Feb. 15, around 50 demonstrators associated with Occupy Santa Cruz gathered in front of the Wells Fargo on Front Street. The group was protesting the charges against 11 activists who had been involved the 75 River St. occupation that took place late last year, as well as the city’s overall treatment of homeless people.

“After being out on the streets, you definitely start to realize that we live in a police state,” said “JP,” an activist holding signs condemning capitalism. “And now that the camp by the courthouse has been split up, homeless people are scattered around and business owners are starting to get upset again.”

 When asked about the current state of the OSC movement, JP said that the organization’s numbers have died down since the camp evacuation last December. “There’s a lot of coming and going, but right now there’s about 30 of us that are heavily involved,” he said. “A lot of it has to do with the winter. I expect that we’ll pick up during the summer. Today, we got a lot of positive reception from people that passed by.”

The group of protestors convened in front of the bank at 3 p.m. and stayed until 6 p.m. Wells Fargo closed at 4 p.m., an hour earlier than they do normally. Nobody who worked in the bank could be reached for comment.

Robert Norse, one of the 11 defendants who is scheduled to be arraigned next week, told GT that out of the 11 people who were arrested for involvement with the 75 River St. occupation, five of them were reporters for alternative media outlets who were charged with vandalism, conspiracy and trespass. “Those charges are erroneous,” Norse says. “The Santa Cruz Police are targeting journalists who are sympathetic to the Occupy movement. We still have support, though—there’s a real common struggle that we’re all facing here.”

Several squad cars showed up across the street during the three hours that the protestors were at the bank, but nobody was told to leave. “You can expect more of these kinds of protests,” JP said.

Other protest and solidarity events coming up in the near future include a planned prison occupation on Feb. 20, a strike at UC Santa Cruz on March 1, and a March against foreclosure on March 11.



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