Occupy St. Louis

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

Tomorrow is the one year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street and local activist groups plan to mark the occasion by protesting biotechnology giant Monsanto.

Barbara Chicherio is with the Gateway Green Alliance, which opposes genetically modified organisms developed by St. Louis based Monsanto and other biotech companies.

She said tomorrow's protests will represent a shift within the Occupy movement to focus on specific issues.

(Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio)

About 150 activists marched outside Peabody Energy’s annual stockholder meeting in downtown St. Louis today.

The protesters decried an unfair tax code that they say allows  the energy company to dodge paying its fair share of taxes. For instance, they say Peabody paid $0 in federal income taxes in 2008 and 2009; and $0 in state income taxes in 2010.

Peabody Energy's Corporate Communications Director Meg Gallagher says, however, the group’s numbers are inaccurate.

Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio

Occupy movement protesters blocked traffic outside Bank of America's regional headquarters Tuesday in downtown St. Louis. The group, including union workers, students, retirees, and clergy, staged a mock-game of dodge ball to protest how, in their view, corporations dodge paying their fair share of taxes.  

Zach Chasnoff, an organizer for the group, says the movement chose the IRS's filing deadline to call attention to an unfair tax system that favors corporations over citizens.

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Occupy activists are taking heat for graffiti found at the Compton Hill Reservoir Park. Overnight, walls and statues were vandalized with phrases including "class war," and "cops, pigs, murderers."

Occupy protester Brian Staack  says the acts are likely related to a confrontation at the park Thursday night where St. Louis police arrested 13 activists.

Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio

Occupy movements from across the country are gathering this week in St. Louis to revive their populist protests against banks, corporations and government.

Rachael Perrotta, a media coordinator from Occupy Chicago said the regional conference will stage at least four non-violent group actions in St. Louis against various companies including Monsanto.

“Welcome to the American Spring," Perrotta said. "Our movement is expanding. We're growing. Winter was the time for internal organizing. Spring is the time to get back into the streets." 

(via Facebook/Occupy STL)

Eight of 10 Occupy St. Louis protestors arrested in Kiener Plaza on Oct. 6 pleaded guilty in municipal court today to violating the city's ordinance banning people from being in city parks past 10 p.m.

Attorney Maggie Ellinger-Locke says the eight were sentenced to time served - about 24 hours - and Judge Richard Torack waived court costs. Ellinger-Locke called it a victory that individuals who "went to jail for justice" and were protesting economic inequality didn't have to pay any money.


Occupy STL members say movement still strong

The tents are gone from Kiener Plaza, along with the big crowds. But people involved in the Occupy St. Louis movement say they're still going strong.

Today marks the two-month anniversary of the movement that began in New York and spread to several other cities. At one point in St. Louis, more than 100 people were camped in Kiener Plaza, a downtown park.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

This is a developing story. We will update it with more information as we know it.

Updated at 6:30 p.m. with quotes from Elliott and march organizer.

Update 5:05 p.m.: Among those arrested this afternoon was Gary Elliott, president of LIUNA (Laborers’ International Union of North America) Local 110, according to a press release distributed by Progress Missouri.

In an interview during the march, Elliott said it was time for him to put his words into action.

"It's one thing to say you feel sorry for people," Elliott said. "It's another thing to actually go out and actually take a little bit of risk to get the things that this country needs."

The march route took protestors past the local headquarters of Bank of America and the Federal Reserve. Johnathan McFarland, an Occupy St. Louis organizer, called it symbolic of America's misplaced priorities.

"We need to rebuild our infrastructure," he said. "And people need jobs rebuilding the infrastructure as opposed to bailing out banks that don't really provide jobs."

Most marchers returned to Kiener Plaza after the arrests, though a few continued on toward the City Justice Center, where the arrested protesters were taken.

Update 4:42 p.m.: Via our reporter Rachel Lippmann:

14 people have been arrested this afternoon and the march of Occupy St. Louis protesters is making its way back to Kiener Plaza.

Update: 4:36 p.m. via the Associated Press: At least a dozen Occupy St. Louis protesters were arrested after their attempt to block the entrance to a Mississippi River bridge on the two-month anniversary of the Occupy movement.

Police were waiting on several hundred protesters when the throng arrived at the Martin Luther King Bridge shortly after 4 p.m. Thursday. About 15 to 20 protesters then sat down cross-legged, with their arms locked.

Officers moved in and arrested them when they refused to move.

They offered no resistance.

The crowd of protesters included labor unions and other sympathizers who marched from Kiener Plaza in downtown St. Louis to the bridge.

Members of Occupy St. Louis had camped in the plaza for several weeks before early Saturday, when police took down the tents and arrested demonstrators for curfew violations.

Via our reporter Rachel Lippmann:

About a dozen Occupy St. Louis protesters have sat down at the entrance to the MLK bridge.

St. Louis police are moving in now to arrest them and telling those nearby to move away or they’ll face arrest as well.

Hundreds more protesters are nearby.

They marched from Kiener Plaza in downtown St. Louis to the bridge, as part of a nationwide effort to mark the two-month anniversary of the Occupy Movement.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

A federal judge in St. Louis has rejected attempts of Occupy St. Louis protestors to re-establish their encampment in Kiener Plaza.

Attorneys for the protestors, who were evicted from the park early Saturday morning, had asked Judge Carol Jackson to stop enforcement of the city's parks curfew until the case went to trial. Jackson denied that request saying the protestors had not proven they were highly likely to win if the case went to trial.

(via Occupy St. Louis Facebook Page)

Will be updated.

Members of Occupy St. Louis say the medium is the message, and their medium is occupation of a downtown St. Louis park.

Twenty-four members of the group are seeking a preliminary injunction that would allow them to renew their encampment at Kiener Plaza. Early Saturday, police arrested 27 protesters for violating the park's 10 p.m. curfew and took down tents. People with Occupy St. Louis had been camping since early October.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

This is a developing story. We will make updates to this story as we follow it.

Update 1:27 a.m. Nov. 12:

Following the events of Friday night through early Saturday morning, Lt. Dan Zarrick  of the St. Louis Police Department gave a briefing to the press. Here are a few of the points from that briefing:

via Facebook/Occupy STL

Occupy St. Louis protestors say they won't leave

The 100 or so Occupy St. Louis campers who have been staying at Kiener Plaza in downtown St. Louis have been told to move out, but many have no plans to leave.

(via OccupySTL Facebook Page)

Updated 3:28 p.m. to reflect later time of enforcement

Occupy St. Louis has now announced via Twitter and Facebook that the time of enforcement is now 3 p.m. Friday. According to the group's Facebook page, city officials delivered two notices to the group, one of which lists the new time.

Original Story

(via OccupySTL Facebook Page)

The chief of staff for St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay says Occupy St. Louis encampments at a downtown park will have to end "sooner rather than later."

Jeff Rainford made those comments Tuesday during a mostly cordial meeting between city officials and about four dozen protesters. Slay's office has asked Occupy St. Louis protesters to stop camping in tents at Kiener Plaza, where they've been for several weeks.

(via Facebook/Occupy St. Louis)

Anti-Wall Street protestors who have camped in Kiener Plaza for more than a month are blasting Mayor Francis Slay for "heed[ing] the complaints of the corporate groups who control the city" and calling for their ouster from the park."

(via OccupySTL Facebook Page)

Even as it launched three simultaneous protests against Bank of American in downtown St. Louis today, OccupySTL may lose its home base soon.

The protestors have been camping at the west end of Kiener Plaza for several weeks, including the Major League Baseball playoffs and a visit to the area by Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden.

During an appearance earlier this week on St. Louis on the Air, Mayor Francis Slay hinted that the city would soon move to take action.

(via OccupySTL Facebook Page)

Demonstrators with the group OccupySTL are facing accusations of curfew violation after they were arrested in a downtown St. Louis park.

Police arrested the protesters about 12:20 a.m. Thursday at Kiener Plaza, more than two hours after the park's 10 p.m. curfew. Police spokeswoman Katie O'Sullivan says 10 were arrested, but Colleen Kelly of OccupySTL says the number was 11 because a homeless person who supports the movement was also arrested.

All but one of those arrested remained jailed by late morning Thursday.

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A downtown St. Louis park is a micro tent city occupied by protesters as part of a nationwide grassroots demonstration speaking out about corporate greed and other issues. The demonstrations are often known as "Occupy [enter location where gathering takes place here]." In this case, it's OccupySTL.

About three dozen protesters were in Kiener Plaza on Monday a few blocks from the Gateway Arch. About a half-dozen tents gave some of them shelter.