The officers in charge initially refused to communicate with the police liaison from the group and gave almost no notice before sweeping the encampment. Streets surrounding the encampment were barricaded as cops began flooding the parking lot adjacent to the camp.
As police encroached on the camp, we stood our ground and demanded that our first amendment rights be respected. Unsurprisingly, the police ignored the rights and needs of the people, and after an hour long standoff, pushed us out of the camp and into the street. One protester was knocked down by the cops in the process, and others were shoved with batons. Those who resisted violence from police were arrested. These folks refused to cower in the face of adversity, and we stand in solidarity with them.
Forced out of the encampment, protesters dragged tents out into the barricaded street to continue their protest. Chanting, "This is what a police state looks like," protesters surrounded the tents and continued to resist the force and intimidation of the riot cops. After another hour and a half, we were shoved out of the street and a fourth Occupier was arrested for refusing to leave. Throughout the process, the cops chose to enforce the agenda of the power elite, disrupting a peaceful protest, trampling first amendment rights and forcing the public out of a public park. The Bellingham police demonstrated their allegiance to the corrupt state by placing property over people's needs. We expect nothing else from the fascist men in blue.
After the protest was disrupted, the crowd came together to march to City Hall and then held a General Assembly inside the building to discuss our next steps as a movement. The encampment had been a home to over a dozen Occupiers since October 23rd, 2011, several of which have now been left with nowhere to go. The city found no solution to this issue by kicking people out of the park--they simply swept the problem of homelessness under the bridge. Supporting those displaced and arrested as a result of the police's recent actions, and all of our disenfranchised community members is a major priority of our movement.
Although Occupy Bellingham may no longer have a physical encampment, our ideals of solidarity, resistance and autonomy only grow stronger with each day that we face the realities of our corrupt nation and witness the abusive display of power from the police.