On the 29th of February, Occupy DC marched on Monsanto’s I st DC Lobbying office. First, Occupy DC stopped at the DC headquarters of ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, which alows corporations to write legislation that politicians then present as their own. After that, Occupy marched on Monsanto, a corporate member of ALEC relying on them to write favorable legislation.
Liveleak Video #1: An Occupy DC speaker explains what’s wrong with ALEC-in front of ALEC
Liveleak Video #2: The Siege of “Monsatan
Feb 29th was a national “Shut down the corporations” day in solidarity with Occupy Portland, and Occupy DC did their part by shutting down Monsanto’s DC lobbying headquarters for well over an hour. The national target of the day was any and all of ALEC’s corporate members.
Occupy marched a little after 7 AM, and charged Monsanto’s doors just before 8AM. When attempts to gain entry failed, blockaded the doors with plywood panels and arm-locked blockaders.
It took well over an hour for police to regain control of the doorways enough for Monsanto employees and employees of the building’s other tenants to enter. First there was the “football game” low level violence to defeat the plywood barricades on the doors. Next the police had to defeat lines of protesters sitting with their backs blocking the doors like at the Convention Center. By the time this was accomplished, one of the doors had been chained. This reduced the number of doors the second, fallback line of blockades had to control from 4 to three. Sometime after 9AM police began making arrests, untimately arresting 10 of the blockaders. As late as 9 22AM one of the door blockades was still in place
There was two out-of-blockade arrests. A woman was violently arrested over resistance from the crowd for trying to take a survey of the cops about police brutality. This was as cops were trying to push suppport protesters east on the sidewalk. Seconds before that, police attempted to arrest a someone coming around the center of the police position by the street, I do not know if they suceeded. If they missed him there was a third attempt.
It appeared that one of these attempts at arrest (and a third if the person the crowd defended escaped) were for using the street to cross rom one side of the protest to the other, as I also did. I was threatened but there was no attempt to follow through. It has been confirmed that the other violent arrest, seconds later, was of an AU student, she was taking a survey of the cops on police brutality.
The crowd vigorously defended both people, and the man may or may not have gotten away. Occupy’s efforts to unarrest those targeted outside the blockade were spirited and energetic, but showed a lack of experience in unarresting tactics. This would soon change if more people with prior experience in unarresting people(especially veterans of Black Blocs) would get involved with Occupy and hold trainings in unarresting tactics.
Shortly after this scrum one man. I do not know if he was the same person, had to run for cover, I yelled “go go go-I’ll cover you” and moved between him and the police. police made no obvious move to pursue as he escaped over the street.
One of the cops on the East sidewalk police line, Ofc Freeman, badge number 18, was far more aggressive and confrontational towards protesters than any other cop. His behavior probably sparked most of all of the fighting at the east sidewalk police line. Many of the cops, but not all, were far more pushy and “grabby-feely” with women than with men, drawing howls of outrage from Occupy’s women.
UPDATE ON ARRESTEESTen are out with court dates set, two held for arraignment March 1, expected they will be released then.
The protest was enough for force Monsanto aka MonSatan to release this puffing, bullshit statement about their “respect” for protesters and farmers:
“We respect each individual’s right to express his or her point of view. Agriculture and its uses are important to all of us. We understand that no single company or method of agricultural production can address food production needs individually. We believe farmers should have the opportunity to select the production method of their choice and all of the production systems contribute to meeting the needs of consumers.”
If Monsanto really believed this they would not be suing farmers and threatening others with ruinous lawsuits over “patent rights” when pollen from their GMO crops contaminates farm land belonging to non-customers growing the same crop from non GMO seeds. The effect of seed patents combined with windblown pollen is to effectively prohibit growing any seeds from Monsanto’s competitors or from local seed saving anywhere Monsanto’s seeds are grown, in any nation willing to enforce seed patents.