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3 Remarkable Occupations You Haven't Heard Enough About

The Occupy protests bear a striking resemblance to one another in spirit, courage and resolve.

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A post on the  Occupy Richmond Facebook page  read, "When the Richmond Police raided our camp on Sunday night, they slashed our tents, bulldozed our supplies, and threw countless tents and food stocks into dump trucks." According to Pagliuca, that included a kitchen, library, information center, and media tent as well as a “comfort tent” where extra blankets and gloves were stored.

Pagliuca wasn't present when the police arrived, but immediately grabbed his camera and headed to Kanawha after receiving a text. "When I got there, there was 150 to 175 police surrounding the place and probably 100 to 125 protesters,” Pagliuca noted.

This was Occupy Richmond's first large-scale confrontation with the police. Pagliuca places the blame entirely on the city government, saying police had been largely cooperative prior to the incident.

“I think people are genuinely shocked. We’ve been nonviolent. We were feeding and clothing the homeless. We were exercising our first amendment rights and were essentially told we can’t do that. This doesn’t make any sense,” said Pagliuca.

The level of resolve that comes out of these midnight raids is encouraging. A representative from the Occupy Richmond media team had this to say about the police raid: 

"We're still active, and our numbers have grown exponentially since the raid. The Richmond Police Department made a huge mistake on Sunday night in their attempt to stop the Occupy Movement, and this is a mistake they will fully realize when they see how many new members we've acquired in the past 30 hours."

Meanwhile, Kanawha’s homeless population, most of whom have joined the movement, "have nowhere to go," says Pagliuca. Occupy Richmond formed a working group to assist them in finding temporary shelter while the group decides where to occupy next. 

(Un)occupy Albuquerque (New Mexico)

(Un)occupy Albuquerque  began October 1 on the University of New Mexico campus. The demonstrators at UNM originally called themselves Occupy Albuquerque, but later voted to change the name to (Un)occupy Albuquerque out of respect for New Mexico's indigenous communities which have suffered under US government occupation for centuries.

Cody Jo, an undergraduate student studying creative writing and philosophy at UNM, spoke with AlterNet about his experience with the movement. He and his classmates were encouraged to observe/participate in (Un)occupy Albuquerque by their professor Desi Brown. According to Jo, the UNM faculty has been largely supportive of the movement.  

One exception is UNM president David Schmidly, who refused to renew the movement’s permit when it expired last week. Instead, Schmidly ordered campus police to clear Yale Park of any protesters who remained past the permit’s 10pm deadline on Tuesday, October 25. The Digital Journal called the evening “a face-off … between some 500 protestors and about 80 police officers” made up of UNM police, the Albuquerque Police Department and New Mexico State Police. As the deadline passed, a helicopter hovered overhead while 20 officers in riot gear stood in the street in “defensive formation.” Ultimately, some two dozen protesters who refused to leave were arrested for trespassing.

Jo was a casualty of Schmidly’s policy as well, but his experience is unique in that he wasn’t actually involved in the protest when he was arrested. The day after the police raid, the campus police busied themselves with keeping the park clear of occupiers. That evening, as the General Assembly was pushed out of Yale Park, protesters took refuge in the coffee shop across the street, at which point Jo decided to relax on a bench on the perimeter of Yale Park away from the protest. He took out a book and began reading.