Occupy Olympia to be evicted today, Call for Solidarity

From Occupy Olympia. Dec 15:

Impending Eviction – Meeting at 8AM, First Christian Church

There are a few sources indicating that State officials will be arriving at Heritage Park to deliver a 20 hour notice to vacate to those camping at Heritage Park. That puts time of eviction at around 5am Friday morning.

A meeting at First Christian church has been called for 8am Thursday morning to discuss the impending eviction.

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From the Olympian. Dec 15:

State officials ordered the Occupy Olympia campers to remove all tents and equipment from Heritage Park by 12:01 a.m. Friday. The order, signed by Department of Enterprise Services director Joyce Turner and posted this morning, cites health and safety concerns at the two-month-old protest site.

It remains to be seen what will happen next. Robert Whitlock, a supporter of the encampment, said he was just getting to the park this morning and had only heard rumors of the state’s action. But he questioned the wisdom of driving out the homeless people who have pitched shelters at the protest site.

“I think there’s some real concerns, in terms of the ability of the people who are here to take care of themselves. Last night there was one of the sort of domestic disputes that have happened, and a woman said ‘I don’t want to go back in the woods.’ … People feel safer here,’’ Whitlock said.

“I don’t think kicking people out is the best thing. … The best thing for the state is to take the situation more seriously and see how to support the people who are here and get them the support they need,’’ Whitlock added.

Turner has said the encampment poses a humanitarian challenge that her agency does not have the purview to address. And DES spokesman Steve Valandra said it is up to other groups to deal with the social needs of those in the park for reasons of shelter.

“We understand people need some help. We can’t do that. It has to be up to other organizations,” Valandra said.

Gov. Chris Gregoire said recently that the encampment could not go on indefinitely, and Occupy activist Leon Janssen said he agreed: that the conditions of wealth imbalance that gave rise to the original encampment can’t go on either.

Protesters began their action at state-owned Sylvester Park on Oct. 15 and moved a day later to Heritage Park. Asked why the eviction action was being taken now, Valandra said:

“We just think it’s time to have it come to an end. We had more concerns about unsanitary conditions down there. We just noticed … there are people defecating in the park. The restrooms had a lot of graffiti yesterday. And we’ve got to take a look at that turf…. We feel it’s become less of a protest and more of an encampment. It just seems like the right time to bring it to an end.”

An interfaith group did a survey of the encampment recently and had been working with nonprofits and local governments on ways to open more shelters.

 

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One Response to Occupy Olympia to be evicted today, Call for Solidarity

  1. Anonymous says:

    The statement from Occupy’s unnamed “media team” says a 4 p.m. march and 10 p.m. assembly are planned “for camp defense and witness.” It also says

    The Occupy Movement manifested as a direct response to the social and economic injustices caused by a corrupt and heartless financial system. Occupy Olympia did not create the problems faced at camp. These are the same problems faced in communities around the country. Occupier Kyle Tanner states, “It’s disappointing that the state chooses to continue to sweep the realities of budget cuts under the rug rather than face the systemic inequities.” Since the early days of the occupation, Occupy Olympia has provided the community with free medical services, food, and shelter, all of which are needs the state has failed to meet. “While Occupy Olympia has been offering social services, it’s important to remember that the Occupy Olympia encampment is, and continues to be, a political encampment. Any attempt to discredit that would be a false representation of what the Occupy movement is all about,” states Occupier Owen Prout. Though the future of the physical camp may be uncertain, the community that camp has built will continue to fight the atrocities committed to benefit the 1%.

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