Occupy Denver: Thirteen arrests in Loveland Walmart protest, at least two still jailed
Update: According to the final numbers released from the Loveland Police Department, thirteen total arrests resulted from Occupy Denver's attempt to shut down the area's Walmart distribution center on Monday.
Charges included obstructing a public roadway, hindering transportation and resisting arrest.
Of the thirteen arrests, most people were removed from the scene, ticketed and released shortly after being taken into custody. Although the LPD has yet to provide the names of those still in custody, a release on the subject states that "a small number of persons who were combative with officers were booked into the Larimer County Detention Center." Among that number are Benjamin Dolon and Amelia Nicol, neither of whom have returned to Denver.
Occupy protesters and Loveland police officers at the site of Monday's protest.
Courtesy of Kerri Kellerman
During the day's activities, one arrestee reported an injury, and no officers were harmed. The injured party received treatment at the scene from paramedics who were called as part of the LPD's attempt to plan for the event in advance.
Below is a video from the day's protest, followed by our previous coverage.
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Original post, 4:10 p.m December 12.: At the present time, all protesters who were previously detained by police have returned to the area with tickets for traffic offenses except for two. Benjamin Dolon and Amelia Nicol, both removed from the site of the protest earlier this afternoon, are believed to have been arrested and taken into official custody. The current list of people cited for impeding traffic and other minor offenses rests at approximately ten. In all, the site is estimated to have been shut down for a consistent half hour earlier in the afternoon.
Update, 1:20 p.m.: Around 9 a.m., a group of Occupy Denver protesters met outside Loveland's Walmart distribution center with signs discouraging corporate bureaucracy. Around seven people have been reported arrested so far, though some have since returned. The list of names includes John Sexton, Amelia Nicol and Caryn Sodaro, all of whom have faced previous arrests related to Occupy Denver.
Although a full list is not yet available, the event is currently streaming live online.
Since news of these arrests, a few of those detained (including Sodaro and Sexon) have returned to the area with news that they were removed by officers and released about a mile away with a ticket rather than being taken to prison. Westword will continue to post updates as we learn of further developments.
The Thunderdome served food throughout the morning. Then, not long after noon, a group of people was arrested after blocking the street in front of the center to keep Walmart trucks from leaving the site. Protesters were warned by on-site police not to do so; they attempted the move a few times before a tent was erected and a handful of occupiers linked arms in front of the exit. At that point, police moved in for the first round of arrests. (It is important to note that the Denver Anarchist Black Cross, the body that until now has organized all efforts to bail protesters out of prison, announced its decision to stop legal support last week.)
Protesters stand in front of the Walmart distribution center in Loveland, Colorado.
Immediately after this round came another, when protesters' attempt to film and photograph the initial arrests led to a scuffle. Nicol was removed from the area for crossing a literal line on the street onto Walmart's private property, while Sexton was arrested immediately after calling to reassure his mother (and comfort her about the Occupy Denver-related court appearance he made earlier this morning.) Another arrestee, One Family of Love member, Benjamin Donlon, was also busted during the group's march against Wells Fargo in October.
Although protesters temporarily blocked the center, traffic leaving the site has now been re-routed so that trucks are leaving from the entrance. One tent is still up. The current protest totals stand around fifty protesters and forty cops, according to sources on-site. A number of officers are armed, while about ten ride horses. Occupy Denver has since been joined by other Colorado groups, including Occupy Colorado Springs, which plans to maintain a presence at a local Walmart until 6 p.m. today.
Check back later for updates, and page down for our previous coverage, including an Occupy Denver video. Original post, 9:03 a.m.: What do you do if you if, on a day the Occupation movement is hoping to shut down West Coast ports, you are occupying a landlocked state in a city the Daily Beast voted the Angriest in America? You've got passion, sure, but no ports and few options. The answer, as decided by Occupy Denver, is simple: You occupy Walmart.
You don't, however, occupy just any Walmart. You occupy one that matters. If possible, you occupy the one that matters. That is why, around 8 a.m. this morning, a large group of Denver protesters gathered together to carpool to Loveland, Colorado to hit the area's Walmart head honcho, the chain's regional distribution center.
The Thunderdome, the group's symbolic kitchen. will be serving food throughout the morning at the group's rally, and protesters encourage the participation of other Colorado occupations and the use of tents while people picket in support of the rights of individuals over those of large corporations. For more information, Occupy Denver released a promotional video for this morning's event:
The action has been planned for more than a week now, with emphasis on its use as a way for Occupy Denver to coordinate efforts with other western cities on the same day many will attempt to cripple their busiest ports. Also on the list Denver recently added itself to are cities as diverse and disparate as San Diego, Oakland and Anchorage.
As the group's plans for Walmart developed, Occupy Denver's main concern focused on how to keep it nonviolent. The direct action is the local movement's first since the day before Thanksgiving, when protesters with the Thunderdome gathered to voice opinions against Mayor Michael Hancock and Governor John Hickenlooper during a holiday meal the two politicians presided over at the Denver Rescue Mission. To that extent, the past week included several discussions and a quickly called emergency general assembly to tackle the need for the group as a whole to remain peaceful as it floods the Walmart distribution center to make a point against corporate financing and big business.
Here's a statement that emerged from that meeting:
"In response to rumors, lies, and hearsay that have circulated regarding the 12/12 Walmart Action, we, as the General Assembly of Occupy Denver and the planners of the action in Loveland, hereby reaffirm that the 12/12 Action is and has always been a non-violent action, and that we do not and have never condoned or sanctioned violence of any kind or the destruction of property. Any allegations to the contrary are patently false."
More from our Occupy Denver archive: "With Occupy Denver protester Corey Donahue, nothing is ever easy."Update, 4:10 p.m.: At the present time, all protesters who were previously detained by police have returned to the area with tickets for traffic offenses except for two. Benjamin Dolon and Amelia Nicol, both removed from the site of the protest earlier this afternoon, are believed to have been arrested and taken into official custody.
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