As Occupy Supply liaison RF Shunt posted a couple days ago, Occupy Pittsburgh has called for a day of action and solidarity today against their impending eviction from People’s Park.
The occupation was sued by Bank of New York Mellon on December 9th in an attempt to evict protesters from People’s Park in downtown Pittsburgh. BNY Mellon – which took $3 billion in TARP bailouts from the public – claims ownership over the public park even though it was built with taxpayer subsidies.
This morning was Occupy Pittsburgh’s preliminary injunction hearing, and they have planned a big demonstration outside the City-County Building in downtown Pittsburgh starting at 3:30PM. The group will then march on BNY Mellon and onto People’s Park to protest the lawsuit and their eviction.
The best remedy to stop an eviction is an outpouring of support from the community. It’s a lot harder to evict an occupation when the community openly values its presence and demands it stays. One of the ways Occupy Pittsburgh tried to show they deserve to stay in People’s Park was by disclosing their finances, including the amount of support they received from Occupy Supply (emphasis mine):
In one of the first public accountings of money that the Occupy group has spent, court filings said that Occupy Pittsburgh members donated $1,453 towards winterization efforts and received $5,070 worth of winter gear, including clothing and a sleeping bag from Occupy Supply, a national organization that disperses supplies to Occupy movements across the country. The group also said it spent $780 on a mess tent and shelving and storage for the cold-weather gear.
Occupy Pittsburgh chose to disclose its finances not only as a gesture towards transparency but to show that they are being responsible about health and have received overwhelming support for the community. One of the most common arguments used to evict protesters has been that their encampments threaten health and safety in the community and that occupiers are not prepared for winter weather. Occupy Supply and the support of the Pittsburgh community is demonstrating otherwise.
If you live in the Pittsburgh area, please consider heading down to the City-County Building at 3:30pm to show you support keeping Occupy Pittsburgh in People’s Park.
UPDATE: I forgot to note: Erie is doing something similar, using Occupy Supply to show city officials that they are part of a national support network that openly supports their efforts and is committed to shepherding them safely through the winter months and beyond. Check out liaison Mark H’s post on his visit to Erie City Council.
Occupy Pittsburgh’s full statement can be found here, and I’ve copied our email to supporters below:
Bank of NY Mellon got $3 billion in TARP bailout from the public. Now they’re claiming the right to evict the public from a public park built with taxpayer subsidies.
In December, Bank of New York Mellon backed down from earlier claims that it would not evict Occupy Pittsburgh’s encampment at People’s Park and filed suit against the occupiers.
The preliminary injunction hearing was this morning, but at 3:30pm Occupy Pittsburgh will rally against the lawsuit in front of the City-County Building in Downtown Pittsburgh. From there, occupiers will march on BNY Mellon and then on to People’s Park.
We need you there to show your support of Occupy Pittsburgh and demonstrate that the Pittsburgh community wants the occupation to stay in People’s Park. Can you make it to the rally at 3:30pm?
Can’t make it? Donate $5 or more to Occupy Supply and help us continue to provide cold weather supplies for Occupy Pittsburgh and 70+ other occupations across the USA.
It’s critical that you and your community show solidarity with Occupy Pittsburgh. Experience has taught us that the best way to halt an eviction is to show that the community wants them there, and that they are a positive presence in the lives of Pittsburgh residents.
I really hope you can make it to the rally at 3:30pm at the City-County Building.
Director of Online Activism