OWS Updates: DC Mayor Asks Feds to Evict Occupiers, Nigeria to Shut Down Oil Production, Occupy the Dream Plans for MLK Day
The latest in global Occupy news...
On Thursday, D.C, Mayor Vinent Graycalled on the federal government to boot Occupy D.C. campers from McPherson Square, a federally-owned park. In a letter to the National Park Service, Gray cited "rat infestations" and public health concerns, similar to reasons elicited by other mayors who decided to evict their Occupiers.
“At a minimum, the Occupy DC sites at McPherson Square and Freedom Plaza must be consolidated at Freedom Plaza to allow for elimination of the rat infestation, clean up, and restoration of McPherson Square,” Gray wrote.
“Freedom Plaza is the more organized site between the two locations, with a greater attempt being made to adhere to good sanitary practices with waste disposal and food preparation,” Gray told D.C. agencies in a memo. “McPherson Square is less organized.”
A Nigerian union representing 20,000 oil and gas workers has threatened to shut down oil production in Nigeria in part of a nationwide strike.
A nationwide strike and mass protests has shut down Nigeria for a fifth day, but union leaders have called for a weekend pause in demonstrations as talks sought to avert a halt in oil production.
It was announced on Friday that the first round of negotiations between labour leaders and top government officials, including President Goodluck Jonathan, had failed to reach a deal on Thursday night over soaring fuel prices.
An official letter from the union read:
We are herby notifying the Federal Government of Nigeria ... that PENGASSAN (The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria) shall be forced to go ahead and apply the bitter option of ordering the systematic shutting down of oil and gas production with effect from ... 00:00 hours on Sunday Jan 15.
According to Salon,
Nigeria is the fifth-largest oil exporter to the U.S., and a shutdown would force American refineries to replace 630,000 barrels per day of crude.
Nigeria has been paralyzed by a strike that began Monday after President Goodluck Jonathan’s government abandoned subsidies that kept gasoline prices low. Overnight, prices at the pump more than doubled, from $1.70 per gallon (45 cents per liter) to at least $3.50 per gallon (94 cents per liter). The costs of food and transportation also doubled in a nation where most people live on less than $2 a day.
On Wednesday in New York City, after protesting NDAA, a few dozen Occupy Wall Street protesters rallied in solidarity with Occupy Nigeria in front of the Nigerian consulate.
"Occupy the Dream,"a Martin Luther King Jr. inspired Occupy initiative, will kick of with candlelight vigils around the globe on Sunday, MLK Jr.'s birthday, with additional actions on Monday. According to the Occupy the Dream website:
Members of the African-American faith community have joined forces with Occupy Wall Street to launch a new campaign for economic justice inspired by the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Faithful to its philosophical origin, the "Occupy the Dream" coalition has called for a National Day of Action on Martin Luther King Day – Monday, January 16, 2012 – to focus attention on the gross injustice visited upon the 99% by the financial elite.
Occupiers are also gearing up for J17, when Occupy Congress will launch a massive, all-day action, and attempt to organize meetings with representatives.
OWS events ahead almost guarantee arrests, but many arrested occupiers have already settled their cases. According to the New York Daily News:
Nearly half of the about 1,800 Occupy Wall Street protest cases handled by Manhattan prosecutors have been resolved, officials said.
The “overwhelming majority” have been settled using a method known as “adjournments in contemplation of dismissal” — where the person arrested is not required to plead guilty but agrees to avoid rearrest for six months, Manhattan district attorney office officials said.