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I have been up all night. I am at home watching the live feed of the eviction. I was at Lincoln Park in Denver until about midnight last night when I had to leave. The police chose to delay the eviction until much of the crowd had left.
We had a general assembly as usual at 7pm. We were told that we could not camp in the park but could be there from 5am to 11pm. Many of us felt that this was fine and wanted the tents taken down and to leave by 11. It became clear that there were many who felt that they needed to make a stand and risk arrest. So the rest of us chose our way of standing in solidarity with their right to make that choice. We expected the eviction at 11 so I waited to witness but then the police decided to wait until people were tired and the crowd had thinned. At that point I had to leave to get back to take care of responsibilities.
The police moved in at 3:15 and began taking down tents and moving the people. Both the protesters and the police expressed incredible restraint. Around 6:30am the remaining protesters were making a stand in front of the kitchen structure and some were arrested. These were the first arrests during the process. The final protesters were truly the most belligerent and least on message people which really doesn't help. We have had a mixed bag of media coverage based on misinformed ideas of what our movement is about. For example one gentleman interviewed who was not part of Occupy Denver and said that we wanted to 'get rid of capitalism' which is completely false. There may be some 'individuals' who do have that goal but it is not shared by a majority of our group.
Because of those that insisted on being evicted the park has been closed permanently to us. However we will be meeting today as usual perhaps right across the street in city park. I will be leading a forum on Vision, Mission, and Goals using a modified version of Open Space Technology on Sunday and I hope to move us closer to a unified vision that may help people to start separating our individual goals that may or may not fit into the movement directly and those that are a hindrance to movement and need to be held separately for now in order to better serve the greater good. I am working hard to inform people by handing out a flyer that gives a short definition and example of vision, mission, and goals and showing up at as many general assemblies as possible and getting this posted to the calendar hoping for significant participation.
I plan to use big, long, giant sheets of paper to let people walk over and write down the issues that are most important to them right at the beginning. Most of these will be goals but it seems that people really want to be heard as far as their individual passions so I hope to get some of that out right away. From there I will move to vision and let anyone who has a vision in mind to write those down and we will work on vision. If we are really lucky, we might get a proposal on vision completed and start work on mission... we'll see. But I seriously hope to see us become more unified and to give people an opportunity to see how these things fit together i.e. where do our individual issues/causes fit in with the group and what we feel a majority of Americans can support. Ambitious yes.
Having written that the last of the people are fighting with the police who push them to the other side of the main street but then as they were going to leave the protesters attempted to return to the park side. More arrests officers pushed them back across the street. It's hard to see how this helps our movement. I hope this will spur a big shift in our group.
But I have been proud of both sides of the conflict for their non violence. The police showed great restraint.
I need some sleep
Update: Apparently we are no meeting on the other side of Broadway across the street from where we were in Civic Center Park which is owned by the City. Lincoln park is owned by the state. I suspect we may be challenged if we try to erect structures like the kitchen, security station, medic station, and info booth but we'll see. I am not sure where the mayor stands on this movement.