By Mark Graham
On March 16 and 17, dozens of dedicated Northern California residents gathered in Davis, California, where Monsanto has an office on 5th Street, and succeeded in shutting down its office on Friday.
As part of the Global Days of Action to Shut Down Monsanto, we raised awareness about the firm’s dangerous and unlabeled genetically engineered foods, pesticides, and predatory practices that are hurting crops and farmers all over the world.
In the course of the 2-day event, activists held up signs, gave speeches to inform and inspire each other and solidify the movement, drafted a resolution about Monsanto with many proposed solutions to be presented to the California legislature, celebrated each other and went “freeway blogging” – displaying a large hand made banner that said, “Shut Down Monsanto” on the Pole Line Road overpass over I-80. Thousands of drivers were shown this message.
It rained most of Friday and part of Saturday and temperatures were cool.
Unfortunately, the Davis Police Department made things rather uncomfortable for our “guests” from out-of-town and for Occupy Davis activists who were present in Central Park early Saturday morning.
At about 12:45 a.m. four DPD patrol cars pulled up, formally “notified” people that “camping was not allowed,” told folks they should leave within one hour, took down names, and presented people with hard copy notifications. All of this communication happened quite civilly and the DPD left without incident. Activists then left the park within the allotted time.
This was troubling behavior by the DPD and we expected better from the City of Davis.
We were very open about this event and the DPD knew about it. Davis PD, local elected officials, and statewide elected officials are part of this listserv, follow OD’s website, facebook, and twitter accounts. We have been nothing if not transparent.
Why flex muscles of power and officialdom at 12:45 am, if the park officially closes at 10 pm? I mean, really! People in a cold, wet park who planned to leave the next day? This is not camping, local officials, this is protest!
To these officials: Come to general assembly meetings at 3pm on Saturdays in Central Park if you are concerned with any direct actions planned to take place in Davis. That is where you can talk to the “leaders” you’re always asking to speak with – ALL of us! Occupy is a leader-full movement/direct democracy. No one speaks for the group. It speaks for itself.
Our direct action guests from out of town expressed their gratitude to Occupy Davis for the hospitality.
OccupyDavis has expanded its social network to include activists from OccupySacto, Woodland, Chico, Bay Area, etc. Occupy Davis on Twitter now has approximately 3,100 followers on Twitter globally and continues to grow. Where can you pitch in, lend your support, and let your voice be heard.
For more information see http://occupydavis.org/ and http://www.organicconsumers.