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Why Occupy Protesters Marched from Wall Street to DC

Elizabeth Flock, Washington Post
For 11 days of the 14-day Occupy Wall Street march from New York’s Zuccotti Park to Washington last month, I joined dozens of protesters as they trekked through rainstorms and 30-degree chill. They slept in tents; ate handouts of Halloween candy and peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches; and endured severe shinsplints, knee injuries and catcalls of “Get a job!” They argued among themselves as much as with others they met along the way.

As this odyssey ended, I thought about the public perception of the Occupy movement and about the Occupiers I’d met on the road. There is the Occupy shown by the news media, defined by police clashes and a lack of hygiene — images that tell non-Occupiers that the movement is leaderless, chaotic and on its way out. But as the marchers passed through towns large and small, and ordinary Americans came out of their homes and businesses to give food, money and words of support, it became clear that this movement isn’t going away.

Since its encampments are being shut down by local authorities across the country, the movement is now Occupying by walking rather than staying put. And another march, which departed Thursday from the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial in Washington, plans to travel more than 600 miles to the civil rights leader’s grave site in Atlanta.

Certainly, Occupy Wall Street protesters have different ideas about the movement’s mission. Many of the marchers I met even disagreed on the purpose of their trek — some thought it was about getting to Washington to protest the “supercommittee”; others thought it was about visiting other Occupations.
(4 December 2011)

Occupy Los Angeles 27 November 2011 – first night of evictions from Solidarity Park

Annie Appel Photography
Every Thursday since October 13 I’ve driven 20 minutes up the highway with my Rolleiflex camera and a handful of film and asked the activists at Occupy Los Angeles their greatest hope for a positive outcome in this global movement toward change. These portraits will be printed in a magazine available on-line next week. A portion of the proceeds will be contributed toward Occupy, and each person photographed will receive a complimentary print upon request. [email protected]

[PORTRAITS of two policemen] Andrew (Los Angeles police Copmmander) … After seeing people suffering as a policeman my whole adult life, I would wish my six month old son could grow up in a world that doesn’t need police officers.

Cleon (Los Angeles police officer, Media Relatios) … Look to G_d for guidance, not to your self-centered agenda, and the commonality in all of us will surface.
(5 December 2011)
Site has compelling photographs of Occupy people, together with short messages. -BA

Occupy the Kremlin: Russia’s Election Lets Loose Public Rage

Simon Shuster, TIME Magazine
On Monday night, Moscow saw the biggest protest against Vladimir Putin since he came to power 12 years ago. Between 5,000 and 7,000 people showed up, packing a square in the center of the capital, hanging from the lampposts in the rain, blocking traffic on the surrounding streets and chanting for Putin’s arrest. They were furious at the elections this weekend that let his party hang on to its majority in parliament, and unlike the much smaller protests Moscow sees from time to time, this one was not populated by Communist grannies or flare-waving nationalists. This was Russia’s Internet generation, the yuppies and the college students, whose anger has finally spilled from the blogosphere onto the streets of the capital.

It did not come out of nowhere. The ripples of frustration ahead of these elections had been suggesting a political sea change for months.

… As of last month, Russia has more Internet users than any other country in Europe, and the country’s blogosphere, with around 5 million blogs and 30 million monthly readers, has become the last truly free space for political discourse in Russia’s tightly controlled media. As became clear on Monday, it has also shaped a generation that is as disaffected as it is politically aware. “So this is what they look like,” said Oleg Orlov, an old Soviet dissident and head of Russia’s leading human rights organization, when I ran into him at the protest. “I’ve never seem them at rallies before, at least not in such enormous numbers. It’s incredible,” he said.
(5 December 2011)
Just out from the NY Times: Russia Cracks Down on Antigovernment Protests:

MOSCOW — The Russian authorities acted decisively to quash a second day of protests against the government and Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin on Tuesday, flooding the appointed site with throngs of pro-government activists who banged on tin drums, drowning out the chants of “Russia without Putin!”

Several hundred protesters convened in a central square, hoping to maintain the momentum from Monday, when as many as 5,000 protested alleged fraud in parliamentary elections. The smaller crowd that formed Tuesday, however, was rapidly choked off by riot police officers who dragged many of them away.