Saturday night around fifty people gathered at the Occupy Bloomington camp
in People's Park for a roving dance party and noise demonstration outside
the Monroe County jail. The party left the park just before 11pm heading
west on Kirkwood Ave toward the square. The mood was festive as those
dancing in the street traded greetings of "Happy New Year!" with other
revelers on the sidewalks, in cars, and in windows overlooking the square.
Early on the dance party/march had the unwelcome escort by the BPD, though
the flashing lights did add to the celebratory atmosphere. It was the
first time the cops have shown any real interest in a march associated
with "Occupy Bloomington" since the camp was established nearly three
months ago. At this point they were mostly following the march and
blocking traffic along the route they assumed would be taken. Only a few
cars got aggressive towards the dancers, while most people were excited to
see such an unconventional method of bringing in the New Year. Our numbers
would occasionally swell as people on the sidewalks and in bars would run
out to join us for a minute before returning to their regularly scheduled
The march arrived at the jail at 11:30pm where more dancing ensued. At
this point three or four police cars were blocking the three-lane one-way
street, one or two cops were parked at the other end of the block, and a
couple more patrolled the area. Sparklers were lit and small fireworks
were ignited. One comrade read a statement through a megaphone expressing
solidarity with those people locked inside the jail and against this
prison society. It was inspiring to hear pounding on the windows from the
inside as we cheered from the outside. Just before midnight a banner that
read "Break Your Chains" was dropped from the Hilton hotel across the
street from the jail. Then at midnight huge 4th-of-July-like fireworks
shot into the sky. People continued to dance and cheer as the night sky
was lit up with thunderous booms and showers of light. It truly felt like
we were in control.
At maybe 12:30am the crowd danced up the street a few blocks towards the
newest hipster bar in town, pausing along the way to watch another huge
firework or four shoot up into the air. Tourists and revelers alike looked
on from the sidewalks and hotel windows, fucking iphones in position. Upon
arriving at the hipster bar, our numbers swelled to well over 100 and
maybe 150 as well-groomed partiers came out to dance and be seen in the
street. While the whole scene was being closely monitored by over a dozen
cops, it looked as if they were going to let the party ride out and fizzle
on its own accord. But that's not what happened.
Last call drew many back into the bar, and a much small crowd made its way
back north on College Ave. Somewhere in the mix a bottle was broken on the
sidewalk. Soon after that a pig-shaped pig jumped out of his car and
tackled a comrade on the edge of the larger group, punching him in the
head as he lay helplessly below the much larger cop. People initially
tried to pull our friend back to safety, but were unsuccessful. This lead
to verbal confrontations in the street between pigs and protestors. At
this point the crowd had dwindled and become more scattered. More cops,
including university cops, BPD, and Monroe County, showed up. The march
turned east on Kirkwood as fifteen cops or so followed on foot, ordering
people out of the street. By the end, two more comrades were arrested
during the confrontation. The crowd finally dispersed around 1:30am.
One comrade is being held on a misdemeanor with a $650 bond. Another
received a minor charge and got OR'd. The last person, however, is being
charged with 4 D felonies, including 3 battery on an officer. For some
reason his bond was set at $750, but was being held for 24 hours anyway.
We hope that by the end of today (Sunday) everyone will be out of jail.
This was not the first march since the dawn of "occupy bloomington," but
it was certainly the most confrontational and empowering. It will be
interesting to see the response from the city government, who so far have
taken a largely ambivalent stance towards the occupation. Last night's
demonstration was refreshing to see in a town run by self-congratulatory
and "enlightened" liberals of the Democratic Party and Indiana University,
who have grown comfortable with the docility of their constituents. This
resevoir isn't calm as it once was, and it's time to rock the boat.
Until every prisoner is free.