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Occupy Escalates

occupy2SANTA CRUZ > Protestors occupy building adjacent to Wells Fargo

On Wednesday, Nov. 30 at around 2 p.m. in the afternoon, Occupy protestors marched across the intersection of River and Water streets and illegally entered the abandoned building currently owned by the Wells Fargo across the street. Protestors who wished to remain anonymous explained that they were able to pick the locks of the building without causing any damage to the doors.

By 4 p.m. more protestors had entered the building and some began to hang banners and signs up on the inside of the windows and from the roof that featured slogans like “Seize the Banks,” and “Occupy Everything.” (The latter originally read “Oocupy Everything,” but was later corrected.) Several police cars gathered in the parking lot, and some police officers stood nearby the bank’s open doors watching the Occupiers move in and out of the building.

”Right now we’re trying to make sure that they [the Occupiers] don’t cause any damage to the building,” one officer told GT. “We don’t want to confront them even though they are illegally trespassing. We’re being reasonable. When I approached the doorway, I was greeted by a bunch of kids wearing bandanas and yelling ‘F you Pig!’ in my face.”

Desiree Foster, the official media representative for OSC, told GT that the reason that protestors moved into this abandoned building was because they hoped to make it their official headquarters for an indefinite period of time. “This building has been abandoned for three years,” she said. “The winter’s coming up so we could really use this space. We’re claiming this building under the law of adverse possession.”

‘Adverse possession’ refers to a common law that states that a property can change ownership without compensation to the original owner if it is held for a specified period and in a manner which conflicts with the true owner’s rights. Fliers passed out by Occupiers near the front doors stated that under adverse possession, a “space is most beneficial to the people who use it. Spaces like this one, reclaimed from the wealthiest 1 percent, are places where we [the Occupiers] can seek redress to our grievances. In the years to come, this space will be used to organize humanitarian efforts, house a library, and provide a forum for discussions”

Foster further stated that the people camping in San Lorenzo Park would be welcome to stop by the building but that they could only stay there as long if they actively helped out with the movement.

Zach Friend, spokesman for the Santa Cruz Police Department (SCPD), told GT that the property owner asked the police to remove the Occupiers for trespassing. “It’s unfortunate Occupy SC is escalating this well beyond what their original purpose was,” Friend says. “We’ve [SCPD] been measured and balanced for these five weeks and it is our intention to maintain that approach. Hopefully they agree to leave peacefully and don’t further encourage an escalation of events.”

Later that evening, a ballooning number of demonstrators sang “Hey hey hey…goodbye!” as police retreated from the protest.

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