Occupy Denver timeline: Two-and-a-half months that have shaken the city

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Monday's hearing in regard to Occupy Denver's request for a temporary restraining order against the city and county is one indication of how far the movement has come in its short life span. In the little more than two months the movement has called Broadway its ideological home, the group has seen more ups and downs than Colorado's fall thermometer. Before Judge Robert Blackburn announces a decision in favor of either side, take a look back at the occupation's best and worst moments.

• Occupy Denver held its first (and possibly messiest) general assembly on Friday, September 23. When protesters met in Lincoln Park across from the Capitol, they were immediately greeted by a state trooper who told them -- without any ominous foreshadowing -- that they could not stay on state property. One half remained on the grass while the other half moved to the sidewalk. In retrospect, it was a sign of things to come -- but protest veteran Mel Van Nice called it "beautiful."

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Kelsey Whipple
A crowd watches Michael Moore's short speech at the occupation in November.
The Thunderdome, the kitchen that has since been torn down and re-created six times, was the group's first institution, supported in those initial weeks by committees organized to protect and oversee a growing Occupy Denver population.

October 7: Everyman rapper Lupe Fiasco stopped by the occupation with tents and parkas.

• On October 11, Governor John Hickenlooper publicly announced that the occupation could not continue to remain on state property.

• Hickenlooper stayed true to his word. From 3 a.m. until roughly 6 a.m. on the morning of October 14, police arrested 24 protesters -- the first busts here. Most were taken in on charges of unlawful conduct on state property, though protester and medical marijuana activist Corey Donahue, in a telltale twist of fate, earned an additional charge of resisting arrest.

• On October 15, there were an additional 26 arrests -- adding up to fifty pleas of "not guilty" echoing in front of a judge over two days. (Donahue also earned a charge of unlawful sexual conduct: "a bad nut-tap joke gone wrong," he explained.) The back-to-back altercations included the first use of pepper spray and police batons on protesters, and the Colorado State Patrol closed Lincoln Park to the group on a permanent basis. The cost to the Denver police and sheriff's departments to date: more than $700,000.

• The protesters moved to Civic Center Park, where, on October 18, the sprinklers were turned on while they slept. It was cold. The same day, protesters scheduled a meeting with Mayor Michael Hancock, which went approximately nowhere.

October 19: Occupy Colorado Springs held a candlelight vigil to discuss the violence at Occupy Denver. The action gained attention outside of Colorado, too: The Daily Beast named Denver "The Angriest City in America," thanks to both Occupy Denver and Tea Party protests.

• On October 20, concerned that agent provocateurs were distracting and damaging the gathering, an Occupy Denver general assembly voted to ban its first protester, a woman named Molly, from all group activities.

• Misunderstandings between police and protesters grew tense on October 25, when officers descended on the camp and took down a cardboard structure. The city's no-structures rule was soon reconfirmed when an igloo was bulldozed after protester Stephen Lidanne was arrested (for the first time) inside of it.

October 26: Five occupiers were hospitalized for symptoms relating to the season's first snowstorm. Since then, two more have also faced similar circumstances.

• Later that week, police arrested 21 protesters during an altercation involving more than forty police vehicles and 200 police officers in riot gear. The night of October 29 was the most brutal to date: Phillip Becerra was shot in the face with pepper balls, while 21-year-old Andrew Cleres was shot out of a tree. The police launched two investigations for felony assault on a police officer.

The timeline continues below.


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9 comments
NotWoofka
NotWoofka

It's also interesting how Westword, the only semi-reliable source of information on this group has been completely scooped by the Denver Post on the fact that the protesters lost their case to have a restraining order on the city.  It's been at least two hours since it happened, and not a single peep.  Instead we get a hard hitting story on the controversy of whether buildings should be named after people.  Classy guys.

NotWoofka
NotWoofka

In another sign of how irrelevant the whole thing is, take a look at the group's own website. It hasn't been updated in days, and they haven't posted minutes from their meetings since November 20th.  If they don't care enough to keep the public informed, the movement is effectively finished.  I'm going to miss the entertainment they provided..it was fun while it lasted.

 

NotWoofka
NotWoofka

Shaken the city?  I can't tell if that's sarcasm, or if the author is just really stretching for relevance.  99.9% of the city either doesn't care, doesn't know, or thinks that the protesters have gone home by now.  It's a big deal to those who are involved, but to the rest of the population its really not even interesting dinner conversation anymore.

John H Kennedy
John H Kennedy

Actions against Occupy Denver by Democratic Mayor Hancock have caused the turnout by supporters to drop precipitously from nearly 3000 as reported by the Denver Post, to just a few hundred.  Actions against peaceful voters by a couple hundred armed riot police would intimidate anyone.  The constant presence of multiple police cars there is a 24/7 warning to all supporters to stay away.  Only a total idiot would think that turnout hasn't been cut by Hancock's and Hickenlooper's tactics.  Given that the majority of those that show up on weekends are from the Democratic Base and that our Democratic State legislators, US Senators, US Congressmen and Obama cannot be bothered to defend our First Amendment Rights... our do nothing State and Federal Democratic candidates will deserve the drubbing they will get in 2012

calhounp
calhounp

that story went up at 1:43. Kelsey is at the mayor's press conference now.

Reality
Reality

Right. "Shaken the City" is most definitely a HUGE overstatement. The only thing that is "shaking" is the protestor's bodies from being out in the freezing weather - and these are really protestors, they are just the permanently homeless people gathering in one place for "safety in numbers".

NotWoofka
NotWoofka

The Post had their story up at 11:54.  I know that fluff pieces are part of your jobs now and you have to commit resources to them, but I'd still have expected you guys to be able to react a little quicker.  I guess the classic media guys aren't quite the dinosaurs everyone expects them to be.

Reality
Reality

and these are really protestors and these are not really protestors,

Kelsey Whipple
Kelsey Whipple

Thanks for the comments, NotWoofka. I'm glad you come to Westword for updates. I was at an interview in Littleton when the decision was released, and we responded as quickly as possible.

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