Amid the continued Occupy San Diego movement, San Diego State students and other protesters said they had been beaten by police, arrested unlawfully and detained without provision of basic necessities.
“We were raided by police … and 51 of us were arrested, myself included,” Matthew Blythe, an SDSU student, said in and email. “The unlawful detention and inhumane treatment is now being investigated by the authorities.”
Blythe said there are many Aztecs involved with the movement, but there are also professors and students from many other campuses involved as well.
Early last Saturday, a media liaison for the Occupy movement was taken into custody for reported “illegal lodging.” The detainee, John Kenney, has been on a hunger strike for more than 30 days, citing the lack of a 24-hour safe, free-speech zone for the protesters as his motivation. Kenney’s health is reportedly very fragile, and is believed to need medical attention. It is believed Kenny may refuse bail and continue his hunger strike behind bars.
In an email statement from occupier Rick Halsey, Halsey claims Kenney’s arrest “continues a pattern of harassment the City of San Diego and the San Diego Police Department have conducted against peaceful Occupy San Diego protesters.”
Halsey also reported that officers informed protesters that “all objects placed on the ground might be considered bombs and subject to confiscation.” These objects included backpacks, tents and other various personal belongings.
This is not the first time OSD has clashed with the San Diego Police Department. Though tensions between the two groups continue to be stressed, the situation came to a head on Oct. 14 when arrests were initially made. Despite being told to vacate the San Diego Civic Center, the protesters remained, and police intervention ensued.
In a video posted on YouTube the day following the start of the protest, officers can be seen exercising their potential force in various forms. The use of Tasers, pepper spray and brute force are clearly displayed, as officers attempt to control the crowd. Through chants of “We are the 99 percent” and “We protest in peace; we don’t need police,” the officers can be seen rapidly introducing several protesters to the concrete before subduing them.
Blythe was one of the protesters present during one such clash and was taken into custody. He said the protesters were held on buses for more than nine hours and were not able to use the restroom nor were they given food or water.
This incident is just one of many that inspired one of OSD’s graphic artists, Julie Kramer, to participate in her own hunger strike. Julie does not plan on eating until the San Diego Chief of Police William Lansdowne apologizes for the “continued and documented police brutality, police harassment and unlawful arrests that Occupy San Diego has been subjected to.”
Despite these hurdles, the Occupy movement shows no signs of letting up anytime soon.
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