Dorian Hargrove 12:47 p.m., May 19
Occupy San Diego Re-Occupies the Civic Center
“Last week I asked in writing to have the re-occupation of the Civic Center be put on the agenda,” Occupy San Diego protester Raymond Lutz told me Monday evening.
“They didn’t do it. So this time, we are coming up with a speech for the human microphone. One of the items in that speech is asking the city to adopt the Los Angeles resolution (which was unanimously passed on October 12) modified for San Diego.
"We want to be able to have tents, canopies, generators, portable restrooms – everything they’ve been allowed to have in Los Angeles. We told the city council, since you refused to put it on the agenda last time, unless you call a special meeting and put it on the agenda, we’ll take that as an action on your part to mean that you approve. If you refuse to talk about it, that means you’re passively agreeing to it.”
Orange County passed a similiar resolution last night, which acknowledges the occupation as protected by free speech rights.
Led by Michelle "Jersey" Deutsch, the group of about 40 protesters asked for the city’s support yesterday using the “human microphone,” a call and response technique which began at Occupy Wall Street when protesters were forbidden to use amplified sound.
“It was this growing chant,” said occupier R. C. Stanley. “The whole room was resonating.”
In lieu of any clear resolve from the council, protesters began re-erecting tents on the Civic Center concourse last night.
“The village was beautiful here,” said Lutz, a seasoned activist and 2010 Democratic Candidate for Congress in California's 52nd congressional district.
“We had everything here – food, a vibrant medical area, people from all walks of life camping, it was just a beautiful sight to see. We need to take the bull by the horns and be assertive for our constitutional rights, which is what this whole thing is all about. It is called Occupy and it means that we are going to be occupying this space.”
Ever-adapting since the October 14 confrontation with police which resulted in two arrests and about a half-dozen people being peppery sprayed, Occupy San Diego has set up a supply camp at Children’s Park and a media center at HART Lounge, a coffee and hookah bar on F and 11th downtown.
The Nurses Association put up a canopy on Monday, standing in solidarity with the nurses and medical aid workers who were among the 130 arrested at Occupy Chicago on Saturday.
At an interview given this morning, San Diego Police Department Assistant Chief Boyd Long stated, "This protest has been peaceful and orderly. We will not see what is happening in other cities, happen in San Diego. I support their freedom of speech and assembly."
Meanwhile, police continue to crack down on Occupy protests nationwide.
Yesterday, 53 protesters, including a state senator, were arrested in Atlanta, Georgia. At least a dozen were arrested in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Over a hundred Oakland protesters were arrested after being hit with tear gas, flash grenades, and police projectiles.
24-year-old Iraq veteran Scott Olsen was hospitalized after being shot in the head by an Oakland police projectile and remains in critical condition with a fractured skull and brain swelling. Police threw a flash grenade directly into a crowd of about 10 protestors who attempted to help Olsen.
According to the Occupy Arrests blog tally, the Occupy movement has totaled 2511 arrests since September 17, when thousands of protesters converged on Wall Street.