Sunday, October 30, 2011
From Occupy Denver press release.
The weekly march at Occupy Denver deteriorated into a full-fledged standoff yesterday, resulting in several confrontations between police and protesters. The primary message of the Occupy Wall Street movement has become overshadowed in the past few weeks, as focus has shifted from demands for economic justice to 1st Amendment rights and outcries against police brutality.
The display of overt police violence at yesterday’s assembly of peaceful protesters was entirely abhorrent. The overwhelming police presence was centered on a handful of tents in a public park. The unnecessary show of force by the Denver Police Department was not only disproportionate and inflammatory, but a vastly excessive expenditure of public funds. We urge Denver’s new Chief of Police, Robert White, to live up to his reputation for being reasonable and holding police officers under his jurisdiction accountable.
We openly condemn the Denver Police Department for using pepper balls, shotgun-propelled beanbag rounds, pepper spray and tear gas on an entirely unarmed and nonviolent group. We have collected scores of unedited photos and videos depicting sheer brutality on the part of police on site: officers choking already restrained protesters, using a stun wand on a female arrestee who was already face down and pinned to the ground by an officer, verbally threatening protesters during the standoff, and recklessly and indiscriminately deploying chemical weapons on unarmed civilians, to name a few.
Police violence has never, and will never stop our movement’s momentum. We will continue to organize and move forward, as have Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Oakland, Occupy Boston, and countless other occupations across the nation and around the globe.
While the goals of Occupy Wall Street are myriad, the central message of the Occupy movement is specific–and clear to those who are willing to listen: this is a nonviolent movement seeking to bring economic justice to a sociopolitical and economic system that has consistently favored the 1% of citizens at the apex of wealth, while oppressing the beleaguered majority. By allowing money to corrupt corporate responsibility and unduly influence the political process in the United States, our nation’s current policies have undercut our fundamental rights as Americans to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
As a nonviolent movement, Occupy Denver utterly deplores and condemns the use of any and all types of violence by any individual or organization, whether of law enforcement or private citizenry.
Occupy Denver is a leaderless, non-hierarchical movement, comprised of autonomous individuals. Occupy Denver does not condone or endorse the behaviors of any individual claiming membership to or affinity for our efforts, and especially disdains individuals who promote, incite, threaten, or resort to violence under any circumstance. Individuals promoting or resorting to violence of any form are explicitly not welcome at Occupy Denver and contradict entirely with the avowed core values of the movement. While the movement prides itself on maintaining public health and safety, and order within its ranks, Occupy Denver cannot control private citizens who choose to act against our sworn principles of nonviolence, and deeply regret their appearance alongside our tireless efforts.
In response to the volatile atmosphere created by the most aggressive raid of Occupy Denver to date by the police, we are holding a Sunset Peace Vigil at 6pm tonight. Please join us and help bring the focus of the movement back to its fundamental philosophy of peace and economic justice.
ABOUT OCCUPY DENVER
Occupy Denver is an autonomous group of concerned citizens aiming to bring awareness to the issues of corporate inequality and greed, and to empower the 99% of the citizenry that does not benefit from the policies that support this objectionable structure. For more information, please visit occupydenver.org, or contact Occupy Denver at [email protected]
at 3:23 PM
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