November 1st, 2011


Samhain raid on Occupy Richmond

At 1am Samhain morning 175 police brought in floodlights and bulldozers to destroy the Occupy Richmond encampment in Kanawha Plaza. They gave folks 15 minutes to move their belongings, then moved in.

There were 10 arrests. Some folks were given summons and released, and two we've bailed out; but Sur, Greg, Josh and Josh are being held without bail (on misdemeanor charges!) because the magistrate believes they'll occupy again if released. Their trial is set for late November.

In November, most likely, their trespassing charge (a class one misdemeanor punishable by a year in jail) will be thrown out, and they'll be convicted of being the park after dark (a traffic-ticket type of offense, theoretically punishable by a $250 fine, in practice $25).

In other words, not only is Richmond violating the First Amendment by abridging the right of the people peaceably to assemble, it is also persecuting these four under color of law by jailing them without a trial -- not because they might flee a $25 fine but because they might commit free speech.

We're going to continue the occupation, more fluidly and perhaps more assertively. We hadn't marched much so far, but tonight we marched far enough that my feet still hurt, waving at Halloweeners, singing Solidarity Forever, and chanting All Night! All Day! Occupy RVA! as well as less local chants.

Thursday my Central Virginia community had a Samhain ritual, visiting the land of the dead. Saturday night my regional community had a Samhain ritual, visiting the land of the dead. Tonight my Richmond community had a Samhain ritual, too. We've got four still to bring back, in token of the thousands, millions, billions of us we need to restore to freedom in the years to come.

If you're in Richmond, come on down to the General Assembly Tuesday at 6pm, on the inlaid compass outside of VCU's James Branch Cabell Library at Park and Linden streets.