I surprisingly woke up to a phone call from my mother at noon today. I must have shut off my alarm in my sleep. Oops...
Here's the news for today:
-- The barriers that were blocking Zucotti Park are gone as of last night, after advocates with Occupy sent letters to the Department of Buildings. While Occupiers are celebrating their return to the park, many of them are concerned about what the next police action may be. Officials say they removed the barricades not because of the letter, but because they were no longer needed.
-- Also in NYC, New York City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez had been seen multiple times at Occupy demonstrations. He was also arrested at the Nov 15th raid, when he rushed to the park after hearing about it. As the Chairman of the Higher Education Committee, he receives a roughly $5000 stipend, and has now written to the City Council Speaker to ask permission to donate it to OWS.
-- Several squatters were evicted from a home in Seattle, which was empty due to renovations. The police had heard threats of booby traps and the like from social media, and took them very seriously. A bomb squad robot was sent in to identify what was discovered to be a harmless package. The squatters have identified themselves as Occupiers, but sheriff's deputies are downplaying any link, saying they don't know of any political affiliation. The home was returned to the owner, who will now be cleaning up graffiti before continuing renovations.
-- Occupy Rochester's permit is set to expire today, but neither side is set to make a move. The city says they need the park back by Spring, so they can perform repairs, but until then, they are not planning on any "dramatic" actions.
-- As reported yesterday, the TUSD met yesterday. They voted 4-1 to eliminate the ethnic studies program, despite impassioned pleas from students, teachers, and the one board member who voted against elimination. They say they have been backed into a corner by legislation, and until that is changed, their hands are tied. Demonstrators who were angry cried out against the move, insulting the board members. One protester had to be escorted out after an outburst. You can read the entirety of the article here:
-- Occupy protesters in Nigeria seem to have brought the country to a standstill, with a massive strike now heading into its second day. Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets, mostly peaceful in their movements, but the government is worried about signs of growing unrest. A religious battle seems to be coming as well, with the predominately Christian north and Muslim south, as angry mobs mill about. One protester was quoted, "A hungry man is an angry man."
That's all for today, everyone.
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