Well as appears across the country the powers that be have decided it is time to close down the Occupy Movement by shutting down their encampments. To this extent Santa Cruz, California is no different. As indicated in previous posts Occupy Santa Cruz occupied a unique geographic place: partially on County property, partially on city property.
On December 4th the County moved into evict Occupy Santa Cruz from around the county courthouse. Street parking next to the courthouse has been restricted and a 7pm to 7am curfew is being enforced.
On December 7th Occupy Santa Cruz filed for a temporary restraining order to bar the city from evicting the remaining encampment. Santa Cruz Superior Court Judge Timothy Volkmann denied the order. Early on the morning of December 8 over 100 law enforcement officer, many in riot gear, cleared out the main encampment of Occupy Santa Cruz.
Five Occupiers were arrested for resisting “evacuation”, plus one arrest on an unrelated outstanding warrant. Private property like in New York and other cities was seized and stuffed into a garbage truck.
My contacts with OCS feel that the popularity of Occupy with the public has been hurt by two things. One, by the incessant negative coverage of the local media including the Santa Cruz Sentinel, referred to in the activist community as the Santa Cruz Senile. Two, by the actions of another activist group called River Street 75, some of whose members splintered from OCS.
On Wednesday November 30th the River Street75 group broke into a vacant building located across from a Wells Fargo Bank. This building was the former Coast Commercial Bank located at 75 River Street. Their objective was to occupy the building drawing attention to the lack of community space. By some accounts nearly 200 people occupied the building. The police showed up and decided not to storm the building.
The River Street 75 group left the building on the following Saturday, December 5th. The Sentinel’s headlines and articles made no distinction between the River Street 75 group and OCS.
Still OCS goes on. General Assemblies are made in defiance of the curfew. Occupy Santa Cruz is continuing to work on local foreclosure issues and working with Occupy University of California at Santa Cruz. New strategies are being worked on for the coming of the new year.