Four activists including two citizen journalists were arrested at a Climate Solidarity Rally in New Orleans on November 15. These Gulf Coast advocates (some from Occupy The Stage) attended a protest against Big Oil in solidarity with the Tar Sands Blockade.
This protest evolved from a workshop at The First People’s Convention in New Orleans that led to a Teach-In about the Tar Sands at a local coffee shop. Those who signed up at the Teach-In received emails alerting them to a rally outside the Roosevelt Hotel. The livestreamer who often records Occupy actions and uses the Twitter handle @small_affair attended this action as a citizen journalist with a press pass and was arrested while staying in front of the hotel to record another citizen journalist being detained. This was not an event organized by “Occupy NOLA” or “Occupy The Stage.” Some members attended in solidarity.
On Thursday, November 15 around 11 am, a group of about ten activists met in in front of the Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans. They received cold glares from the “doorman” who would not identify himself to the livestreamer when she asked him if he was hotel security. After holding banners and chanting outside the Roosevelt Hotel, the group marched to 1 Shell Square and The Federal Building, passing BP headquarters. The activists then returned to the Roosevelt Hotel while the Joint Energy Industry Association Luncheon was taking place. None of the four arrestees were aware that any instructions not to enter the hotel had been issued by NOPD, the “doorman,” hotel security, or The Louisiana State Police.
The group walked nonchalantly in through the back entrance and passed hotel staff who did not try to stop them and did not ask them for identification. They were given no indication that they were not allowed in the hotel and continued straight up the escalator into the Crescent City Ballroom where a few hundred people were eating lunch. Activists stood in the back of the ballroom and held up signs protesting the Keystone XL Pipeline for about five minutes. One of them was given cheesecake from a guest at the luncheon.
Photo Credit Laura Borealis - Tarsands Blockade Flickr set
The “doorman” entered the room with hotel security. A member of hotel security asked the activists to leave.
The activists began chanting loudly “Hey, hey! Ho, ho! The Tarsand Pipeline’s got to go” while they exited the ballroom. They descended the escalator and some were manhandled by the “doorman.” It was difficult to all descend the narrow escalator at once while the hotel security and “doorman” were shoving some of the activists, but they did begin leaving the hotel when told to. The livestreamer repeatedly displayed her press pass and asked if the press were allowed. Finally the “doorman” told her the press were not allowed in the Roosevelt Hotel. She filmed the “doorman” directing someone to call 9-11 to report “criminal trespassing.”
Since they had been told to leave, the activists exited the building and congregated on the sidewalk, beginning to disperse. On the sidewalk, where they were no longer “trespassing,” the livestreamer noticed the other citizen journalist who was also displaying a press pass being stopped by a plainclothes Louisiana State Police Officer. The livestreamer asked if the citizen journalist was being detained. No response was given. The plainclothes State Police Officer yelled “Stop” but did not clarify to whom he was issuing the order. The livestreamer asked if they were being detained, but did not get a response.
Two of the remaining activists crossed the street. The livestreamer began to follow them after waiting for traffic. As the livestreamer and two activists crossed the street to the car, the “doorman” yelled, “That guy is a State police officer and he told you to stop.”
“You’re a hotel employee,” one of the two activists with the livestreamer yelled. “You’re out of your jurisdiction.”
At that point, none of the three had been told they were being detained so decided to leave The Roosevelt as they had been instructed. The three got in the livestreamer’s car.
As the livestreamer attempted to drive away, the “doorman” ran in front of the car and displayed a Louisiana State Police badge and shouted that he was an officer and if the livestreamer hit him with her car, it would be a felony. The livestreamer immediately stopped the car and turned it off. A police car pulled up and the livestreamer and two activists were told to get out of the car. They complied willingly and stood on the sidewalk asking if they were being detained several times. Finally the plainclothes police officer said they were being detained.
Citizen Journalists Arrested
Several NOPD officers arrived and told the livestreamer, citizen journalist, and activist to stay on the sidewalk. They then spoke with the “doorman” and one activist noted that the NOPD were not eager to arrest the group since they were not trespassing anymore and had obviously left the building when they were told to. The “doorman” insisted the four renaming people be arrested for Criminal Trespassing. The authorities asked the two activists without press passes who had organized the action, and they honestly responded that they did not know.
A friend arrived at the scene and was allowed to take down the names and birthdays of the arrestees and secure some of their valuables.
The four arrestees were booked extremely quickly when taken to Orleans Parish Prison. The livestreamer was asked to approach the Sheriff to spell the name of one of the arrestees correctly. The livestreamer overheard the Sheriff telling the Orleans Parish Prison Employee who takes the mug shots that the four arrestees needed to be photographed quickly because there was a request to send their photographs to the FBI. When she asked the Sheriff to confirm this, he said their photographs were being sent to the FBI. He said he was not joking.Bond was set at $165 per person. Members of Occupy The Stage and a mutual friend posted bond for all four arrestees. Some of the bond was the livestreamer’s rent money which she had left in a safe location.
On November 16, the charges were dropped against all four activists when they agreed to forfeit bond. They are eager to stare their story, so don't hesitate to Contact Us with questions! Any donations to repay members of Occupy The Stage for covering bond costs will be greatly appreciated. With love and solidarity,
~ Occupy The Stage Livestream Links: Activists entering The Roosevelthttp://bambuser.com/v/3150179
Activists descending the escalator and leaving The Roosevelthttp://bambuser.com/v/3150191 After jumping in front of car, “doorman” identifies himself as a police officer for the first time and arrests are made.http://bambuser.com/v/3150220
The Second Arrest small affair ever livestreamed was her own.
Learn More about The Tar Sands Blockade!
Join OTS & Occupy NOLA when Obama Visits NOLA to "Occupy The Vote"
On Wednesday President Obama will visit the French Quarter to attend a campaign fundraiser Reception For the Obama Victory Fund (
OVF) at the House of Blues
. The National Urban League Conference
is billing Obama's visit as as “Occupy the Vote.” This suggests that the Occupy Movement is supporting a fundraiser for a holder of public office who has been the fervent supporter of a trillion dollar plus bailout of the banking giants at the expense of everyone else. Nothing could be further from the truth!
Here is what Occupy NOLA will be requesting from the President on his July 25th visit to New Orleans.
- Withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan now!
- Issue an executive order preventing LA Governor Jindal and company from gutting medicaid and public hospital funding
- Stop the demolition of The Iberville Housing Development
- Create jobs for All
- Mass, direct-government employment program, now!
- Put all New Orleans teachers fired after Katrina back to work now! No more scabs for America's teachers
- End government support of for-profit education.
- Institute a Federal Public Works Program paid for by big oil companies including Shell and BP to clean up the Gulf of Mexico and restore the infrastructure of the Gulf.
Give President Obama a 99% UnWelcome: Meet 2pm Wednesday. June 25th to Chalkupy The Amphitheater
across from Jackson Square
(near the corner of Decatur and St. Ann).
Bring chalk, signs, pots and pans, chants, friends, and, most importantly, yourself.
Image Gallery - Occupy These Flyers If You Need Inspiration To Make Signs!
After being held in Orleans Parrish Prison for making a speech from Wednesday at 1 am until early Tuesday morning, founding member of Occupy The Stage was transferred to East Baton Rouge where he was finally released around 8:30 pm Central Time. Members of OTS met him at the gate.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 26, 2012
Occupy The Stage founder, Justin Warren was held at Orleans Parish Prison from June 20 - June 26 and transferred to Baton Rouge Parish Prison on a warrant he didn't know existed. His bond in Eastern Baton Rouge for charges of disturbing the peace and resisting arrest totaled 1,000.
Justin Warren has a voice that can carry and be heard over the din of city streets. His key voice at assemblies and protests in the occupy community has demonstrated his dedication as an advocate of freedom of speech. The charges he is facing are for allegedly disturbing the peace on the steps of the capitol building in Baton Rouge. On the 12th of March, he was in Baton Rouge with Occupy The Stage, Occupy NOLA and Occupy Baton Rouge for the opening of the 2012 session of the Louisiana Legislature that included a protest against budget cuts in education.
He was making a speech when an officer approached him and attempted to silence him. He continued exercising his First Amendment rights and was then approached by several officers who attempted to grab him from behind.
However, he slipped out of his jacket and left the steps of the State Capitol.
After he departed, Officer Holman (badge # 6071) said on camera that Justin was no longer disturbing the peace and would not be arrested. (see min 1:40 here: http://youtu.be/86OSs6YmM8s
When questioned as to why Louisiana State Police were interfering with Justin's First Amendment rights, Officer Holman replied that he was speaking without a permit. Apparently, The Tea Party had scheduled a separate event in
the same area, and they were not approached by the police because they had obtained said permit. The New Orleans protesters did not have a permit, nor did they need one according to The Bill of Rights. Occupy movements across the country continue to battle relentless attacks on free speech and assembly, which are assured to all citizens by our Constitution and Bill of Rights. The warrant and the ensuing transfer to Baton Rouge are obviously a ridiculous waste of taxpayers' money. No citizen should need a permit to exercise freedom of speech in the State of
Louisiana. Public spaces, including the steps of the capitol building, are protest points where free speech has been exercised for decades.
Justin Warren was released after spending 6 days in Orleans Parish Prison and 1 day in Eastern Baton Rouge Parish Prison. He needs to be compensated for his loss of income while being held for no justifiable reason.
This information was forwarded to Occupy The Stage from Occupy NOLA's 99% Direct Action Working Group.
Justin Warren, founding member of Occupy the Stage, sits in Orleans Parish Prison because authorities in Baton Rouge want him sent there to stand trial for the “crime” of speaking without a permit on the steps of the State Capitol building. The charges against Justin arise from his March 12th speech on the steps of the Louisiana State Capitol building denouncing then proposed cuts to the state’s education budget. Interestingly enough, the NOPD, not Baton Rouge police, arrested Justin early Wednesday morning, June 20th in New Orleans. At the time of his arrest Justin was playing a lead role in helping organize the New Orleans stop of the national Occupy the Caravan.
At this time Occupy NOLA is urging all supporters of free speech and the right to dissent to contact Sheriff Marlin Gusman to urge that the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office not collaborate with any attempt to extradite Justin to Baton Rouge. Remember Sheriff Gusman is an elected official who is susceptible to public pressure. What’s more is that the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office should not be in the business of aiding attacks on free speech.
How to contact Sheriff Gusman:
The phone number of the East Bank Sheriff’s Office is 504-822-8000 EXT 6411.
(The wrong one was included in email from DAWG and was tweeted and we REALLY apologize).But there is no answer on Sunday. You can submit a comment on the Contact Us section of the website of the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office provides for the sending of emails to the Sheriff. The address for the home page of this website is www.opcso.org
Friends in another Occupy worked very hard on this.
Attention Watch Commander:
We encourage any officer who does not wish to be included in any legal consequences and or subpoenas that result from the action to which you have been deployed to stand down and retreat NOW.
We, The People of this assembly hereby address the agencies and officers deployed to remove our assemblage from this public space with a declaration of intent to prosecute excessive use of force and unethical deployment of police in the following statement to their command:
The deployment of police intimidation, riot police and use of force-based practices for the dispersion or arrest of this assemblage of freely associated persons for the purposes of expression of grievances for redress is unlawful in the following manners:
Under Title 28 United States Code Section 1343(a)(3) and USC Title 42 Section 1983; Including such rights as described in the first, fourth, fifth, and fourteenth amendments to the United States Constitution and or any relevant rights as described under the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights as ratified by the United States of America and her allies.
1. It is unlawful for a police officer or agency to proceed with escalation of force against passive protesters offering no resistance, no threat to officer safety, no threat to civilians or any other justification for any use of force beyond the simplest arrest procedures.
2. It is unlawful for police agencies or personnel to proceed with such arrest protocols as to prevent members of this assemblage from leaving the area of their own volition to avoid arrest.
3. It is unlawful for police officers or agencies to proceed in such a manner as to force members of this assemblage into a public byway or into any other inherently unlawful place of assembly in order to justify arrest.
4. It is unlawful for any police officer or agency through the use of intimidation, protocols, procedures or escalation of force to endanger, injure, prevent access to emergency medical services, fire and rescue services or otherwise risk the life, limb, property or safety of any member of this assemblage or any peaceful bystander.
5. It is unlawful for any police officer or agency to force the inclusion of any member of this assemblage, member of the press, peaceful bystander or other person not choosing to remain after the declaration of intent to arrest through the use of any previously mentioned tactic, protocol or technique.
6. a. Escalation of force is defined as the clear and present need to overpower an uncooperative, combative or otherwise dangerous suspect through the minimum use of force necessary to safely detain, arrest or subdue.
b. Without the presence of felony assault, assault with intent to kill, assault with a deadly weapon, endangerment of civilians, attempt to flee in a manner which creates any previously mentioned condition or a clear physical superiority on the part of the suspect it is unlawful to use pepper spray, batons, Tasers, physical assault of any kind and or any other "less than lethal" or lethal method which may cause physical harm to the suspect.
7. a. Any unlawful escalation of force described in this statement will be considered a violation of human rights on the part of the officers and or agencies responsible for the acts.
b. Any such actions under color of law resulting in injury, harm or death will be considered felony assault, attempted murder, manslaughter or other applicable felonious charge and are to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
c. The actions, protocols and the procedures deemed directly related under Title 28 United States Code Section 1343(a)(3), Title 42 Section 1983, Including such rights as described in the first, fourth, fifth, and fourteenth amendments to the United States Constitution and or any relevant rights as described under the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights as ratified by the United States of America and her allies or any other applicable State or local statute.
8. Any violations of the aforestated or any other human rights or guarantees under any law on the part of this agency or it's affiliates will be recorded, publicized and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Unlawful use of force for the purposes of dispersing, quelling and silencing of The People will no longer be tolerated or go unpunished.
9. You may proceed with your arrests of such members of this assemblage as choose to remain to be arrested in a lawfully decreed manner under the direction and supervision of such judiciary and or representatives as can prove beyond shadow of doubt that we are an illegal assembly.
In Peaceful Solidarity,
The People assembled under the auspice of Occupy.