Occupy St. Louis protesters return to park despite Friday's arrests

Saturday, November 12, 2011 | 3:50 p.m. CST
An Occupy St. Louis protester who identified himself only has "J.J." packs up some of his property in a tent in Kiener Plaza on Friday. "J.J." said the items he was packing he didn't want to city confiscate if the protesters are removed from Kiener Plaza against their will. He said if the tents are taken down and he is forced to leave that he will return to continue the protest later.

ST. LOUIS — Several Occupy St. Louis protesters returned Saturday to a downtown park where they've been camping for weeks, hours after police arrested about two dozen of them for disobeying an order to leave.

The protesters had returned to Kiener Plaza by 6 a.m. Saturday, and they obeyed a police request to take down a tent, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Police arrested about two dozen people just after midnight Friday after U.S. District Judge Carol Jackson declined the protesters' request for a temporary injunction allowing them to remain in the park at least through the weekend. She scheduled a hearing for Tuesday to consider whether the protesters should be allowed to move to a different area of the park.

One young man suffered a seizure during the arrests but was conscious and alert by the time an ambulance arrived to take him to the hospital. The cause of the seizure wasn't immediately known.

St. Louis officials had told protesters to move out of the park by 3 p.m. Friday, but police didn't move in until Jackson's ruling, waiting en masse several blocks away before converging on Kiener Plaza.

In the moments before police arrived, a protester on a bullhorn advised those who were willing to be arrested to stay on the park ground and those who did not want to be arrested to go to a nearby sidewalk.

When they arrived and began arresting people, protesters chanted "Shame on you!," ''Who do you serve?," and "Our passion for freedom is stronger than your prison," at police. Those who defied the order to leave stood passively as they were arrested and led away, and there was no violence.

Bradley Veltre, a 49-year-old union worker who was among those arrested, said he disobeyed the order to leave to stand up for a belief that's central to the Occupy protests — that corporate greed is causing a decline in the middle class.

"I've been waiting for our time to come, and this is it," Veltre said. "If I have to be arrested, I don't care."

Within minutes of the arrests, protest organizers were taking donations for bail money.

At its peak, the encampment had 50 tents, but when police moved into the park Saturday there were slightly more than a dozen, as some demonstrators took heed and left. Those whose tents were taken down could claim them from police.

There have been only a few violent clashes between police and demonstrators in the many Occupy protests that have sprung throughout the country — the most notable of them two separate clashes in Oakland, Calif., in which two Iraq War veterans were hurt.

St. Louis has avoided violence, and until Saturday, only 10 arrests had been reported involving its Occupy protests — all for curfew violations on a night shortly after the encampment sprung up early last month. Until Saturday, police had been allowing the protesters to remain in the park, despite their apparent violation of the city laws.

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stan chaz November 12, 2011 | 11:16 p.m.

There will always be people that try to sabotage the right of American Citizens to have their say... and to demand change. This does not alter the basic facts: America USED to work. The people had work. The system worked. Hey, EVEN the Congress used to work (sometimes). God knows, it was far, far, far from perfect -but at least we all had some share in the struggles AND the rewards. But somewhere along the way, we lost our way. Because now we have an economy and a political system that seems to work only for the rich. What they call "trickle down economics"....leaves most of us out in the cold cold rain. We need to get back to what America was, and what it should be, and what it can be. Occupy Wall Street is no longer just a place called Zuccotti Park - Zuccotti Park is everywhere. You can beat us and arrest us and tear-gas us, you can try to "permit" us to death....but you can't kill an idea. You can't keep down a people’s hopes and dreams for a better life.....a life with dignity and freedom....for us, and for our kids. More power to Occupy Wall Street, as it spreads to every town and city - because OWS is us, and for us, and by us. It comes up from the grassroots, and it lifts us up in turn. With OWS America has found it’s voice, and that voice demands fairness and justice -for ALL. This land IS our land! AND WE WANT IT BACK! We want our LIVES back! We want our FUTURE back! But it’s more than just words.... it’s more than just politics.... it’s your LIFE, and how you want to live it. So why not take some time, find a quiet place somewhere, and consider this: Each of us has only one brief roll of the dice....and many choices. It’s time to risk...and to act. If not now...then when? If not you, then....who? You DO have the power my friend....and the choice is yours. Don’t let your dreams die.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking November 13, 2011 | 5:04 a.m.

stan chaz wrote:

"We need to get back to what America was, and what it should be, and what it can be."

And how, specifically, do you propose to do that? What do occupiers want? I've never seen a good answer, and the movement has been going on for a couple of months now.

If you can't answer that, you're wasting your time. You'd be much better off volunteering for a charity or helping a neighbor.


(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith November 13, 2011 | 5:45 a.m.

There is something we need to understand: there has been a war going on in the United States for about 80 years. It is an INTERNAL war. It definitely has produced casualties.

The war is about what political philosophy will govern the United States. That same war has ended in western European countries, in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand*: they've settled for socialism. Believe it or not, there was a time when I thought we should settle for socialism too (hope I haven't given Frank Christian a heart attack).

But take a look at what's happening in Europe. Germany only has 5% unemployment (heavily weighted toward workers of Turkish origin) but unemployment figures for some other European countries are bad, and heavily skewed toward younger workers. The lower unemployment in Germany is that it is one of the larger exporters on the planet, a position its government works hard to help maintain.

How good is Capitalism? How good is Socialism? If we're concerned about the cost of external wars, shouldn't we be concerned about the costs of this one?

*- Although New Zealand shows signs of reversing itself. Well, we shouldn't pay any attention to a country that has more than 15 sheep for every human. :)

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking November 13, 2011 | 7:04 a.m.

I don't think it's really about socialism or capitalism (our economy having elements of both, but still not to the socialistic level of Europe). I think it's about transitioning to a finance based economy as opposed to a manufacturing based one. China is in many ways still a totalitarian state, but because it is a manufacturing powerhouse and exporter, has low unemplyment and strong economic growth.

The fact the rich have gotten richer has not affected my life at all, and in fact has likely affected very few people's lives directly. Most of this money has been created by banks, not taken from the lower classes. The "1%" in merely the scapegoat du jour for dissatisfied people.


(Report Comment)
Steve Baumann November 13, 2011 | 7:46 a.m.

Ties to ACORN, OK, that was all I needed to hear.....

(Report Comment)
frank christian November 13, 2011 | 8:03 a.m.

"Believe it or not, there was a time when I thought we should settle for socialism too"

"Better Red, than dead!" Huh,Ellis?

(Report Comment)
Corey Parks November 13, 2011 | 8:03 a.m.

"When they arrived and began arresting people, protesters chanted "Shame on you!," ''Who do you serve?," and "Our passion for freedom is stronger than your prison," at police."

I found this quote funny because there is a high likelihood that the police are still serving them due to the people the protestors have elected in the past and the laws they have supported to over see the cities and local government. City Govt for the most part do not come up with stuff on their own.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith November 13, 2011 | 8:17 a.m.

@ Mark Foecking:

OK, but I notice you didn't deny that there is a war going on. That the rich have gotten richer has affected me positively. Thank you, Smith* Barney!

Frank: Yes, I guess I was once one of those [New Zealand] sheep. But look at the bright side, Frank, my case shows it's never to late for redemption. :)

*- No relation.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams November 13, 2011 | 10:55 a.m.

Occupy's preoccupation with corporations is a class-warfare smokescreen. Every nation going to war first requires dehumanization of the enemy. Corporations are you, me, the guy next door, your mom with an IRA, your life insurance company, the supplier of widgets for your job, the taxpayer who pays your salary, etc. Corporations consist entirely of people organized for a purpose. But OccupyWhatever can't successfully attack people...people will react a mite adversely, so that strategy can't be sold.

But you can dehumanize the people by putting them under a faceless "corporation" umbrella. Easier to sell an attack on a "corporation".....harder to sell an attack on the guy next door.

And, when you are entertaining a bunch of financial illiterates, it gets even easier.

(Report Comment)
frank christian November 13, 2011 | 10:57 a.m.

Ellis S. - "The war is about what political philosophy will govern the United States.", is absolutely accurate. Long before China became any sort of a threat to the U.S., some American citizens were promoting governmental change to Communism before being "nuked" by USSR. Thus "better red, than dead". Concerned patriots (remember that word?) were advising that the U.S. would never lose it's sovereignty by military force, from outside, but could be conquered by the internal forces of our own. The term "creeping socialism" was employed frequently in this context. We don't hear this as often now because IMO, rather than creep like a cat, the thing, due to our educational system (a biology grad student told me online, "There is nothing wrong with communism. USSR just had the wrong people running it.")is galloping like a horse.

And Mark, if we are "transitioning to a finance based economy as opposed to a manufacturing based one.", it is because of the unionism and regulation foisted upon our mfg. base by our socialist enemies in this War.

(Report Comment)
James Morison November 13, 2011 | 10:23 p.m.

"Every nation going to war first requires dehumanization of the enemy."

Yeah We need to dehumanize corporations because corporations are people. If corporations are people then when is Texas going to execute one?

"Occupy's preoccupation with corporations is a class-warfare smokescreen."

Well then you certainly don't need to worry about anyone attacking you You have no class.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith November 14, 2011 | 5:50 a.m.

James Morrison. Wasn't there a singer with that name?

James, you have aroused my curiosity. Have you ever WORKED for a corporation? I worked for four of them*, before working on my own. Corporations come in various shapes and sizes - corporations as a group are not monolithic.

I also once worked for our federal government. I would rather work for a corporation.

*- One of them owned the ill-fated ore-carrier boat "Edmund Fitzgerald," made famous in a popular song. It was a sad day in Cleveland, Ohio when the "Edmund Fitzgerald" went down with all hands.

(Report Comment)
frank christian November 14, 2011 | 11:20 a.m.

James Morison - Thanks for providing evidence regarding my statement that included, "due to our educational system". You have written of your displeasure with corporations and industry. Can you provide a clue as to what on this earth you might appreciate? Or is the ability to spray your hatred on us enough for you?

(Report Comment)

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