Archive for June 2008

I’m Pro-Zombie and I Vote: our new mascot

This is NOT a picture of me. Nor is it a picture by me. It’s actually a real picture of a protester at a “zombie walk” in Seattle taken by fellow citizen journalist Byron Dazey. I just thought it was so appropriate for zomblog that I’m inaugurating Mr. “I’m Pro-Zombie and I Vote” here as the new zomblog mascot! I’m also sticking a miniature version of him permanently over in the sidebar. (Temporarily permanently, at least.)

I have no idea yet for what purpose I’ll ever use this photo (other than posting it here), but perhaps one day it will be exactly what I need. Until then: if anyone else has a reason to download and use this photo (or the mini version to the right), go right ahead (and credit should go to “Byron Dazey,” not me).

Welcome to our new mascot!

And a question for everyone to ponder: Are you pro-zombie, and do you vote?

Read the whole thing here, with dozens of photos, videos and more!

Following up on my posting on Tuesday about the crisis at the oak grove tree-sit:

Despite the seeming finality of the previous day’s “assault” by U.C. Berkeley on the occupied oak grove near Memorial Stadium, the standoff continued for a second day, as most of the sitters had managed to avoid capture. I swung by late on Wednesday, June 18, to see how things had progressed.

The crowd was definitely larger — word of the ongoing battle had percolated throughout the Professional Protester Community, and all the regulars came out. The atmosphere was simultaneously festive and desperate.

The sitters had constructed an insanely perilous aerie towering far above the highest branches. It was occupied by a protester with the too-perfect name Dumpster Muffin (yes, her name really is Dumpster Muffin), who would go into convulsions whenever one of the dismantlement-minded arborists neared her outpost. She’d screech and scream and shake the platform violently, forcing her opponents (who were dangling from a cable attached to a crane) to back off, fearing she’d martyr herself by plummeting to the ground rather than be captured. Using this technique repeatedly, Dumpster Muffin (seen here warily eyeing the crane in the distance) successfully defended her perch, to cheers from supporters down below.

Local TV station NBC11 captured video of Dumpster Muffin shaking her platform and screaming, with two different cameras — a zoom lens from the ground and another in their news helicopter.

At various points in the afternoon, other protesters would clamber up the Tinker-Toy-like support beams to check on Dumpster’s well-being.

A police helicopter hovered overhead, menacingly.

Late in the afternoon it was announced that a judge had temporarily halted construction on the site, causing great jubilation in the crowd. But not too long after, the University’s lawyers also declared the ruling to be a victory for their side, so as usual everything was left in confusion.

Meanwhile, some styrofoam phrenologists had abandoned their research project on the street below.

U.C. Berkeley Dismantles Oak Grove “Tree-Sit”

As mentioned in an earlier zombietime report, a ragtag group of protesters have for the last year and a half been “occupying” a small grove of oak trees near the U.C. Berkeley campus, in an attempt to prevent the university from building a new student athletic facility on the site. For unknown reasons, the university never evicted the protesters, who had taken to living in the trees themselves. That is, until today, June 17, 2008, when without warning the university began to dismantle the illegal “tree-sit.”

The eviction of the protesters and the dismantling of their treehouses and rope network began at 6:30 in the morning. This short photo essay is in no way intended to be a comprehensive document of what happened on June 17 — just one person’s perspective of a few minutes in the day-long incident, much later in the afternoon. Here, one of the tree-sit supporters expresses her opinion of either Berkeley, or (more likely, considering the red-white-and-blue color scheme) the United States.

The police had previously enclosed the oak grove in two layers of fencing, in a futile attempt to prevent supporters from delivering food to the tree-sitters. On this day, they erected a third barrier, and kept the growing crowd (estimated at about 100 people) far back from the action in the arboreal canopy above. The crowd grew hostile and began shouting insults at the police, and encouragements to the beleaguered tree-sitters.

The university brought in cherry-picker cranes, which police and arborists used to ascend to the treetops where they tore down the treehouses and, whenever possible, performed mid-air arrests of trapped tree-sitters. The crowd was kept so far back that we were not really able to get a good view of the action.

Predictably, some communists showed up and stationed themselves at the front, occasionally taunting the police in Spanish. Note the hard-hats the cops are wearing — they were forced to put them on because earlier in the day the tree-sitters were pelting the police with human feces and bits of garbage. Luckily, I missed that part.

The communists eventually gave up displaying their banner to the police, and laid it on the ground.

The crowd was frustrated but powerless. Mostly people just milled around, occasionally crying or sobbing, and then suddenly shouting in outrage when one of the tree-sitters in the distance let out a scream or a howl for some reason, which they did every few minutes or so.

Living in the trees, throwing feces at predators, howling in fear — was I witnessing de-evolution in action? Could humankind return to the trees?

But not everyone was in tears over the day’s events. A group of student athletes and other tree-sit opponents watched the action from a much better vantage point in Memorial Stadium, and cheered wildly whenever a part of a treehouse tumbled to the ground.

The police at ground level just stood there impassively.

The protesters had chalked on the ground their opinion of the police and other evil University of California authority figures: “Beyond Satan.”

This interesting sigil caught my eye: a combination of the peace symbol and the anarchism symbol — along with three mysterious short lines (which, in hobo code, mean “This is not a safe place”).

At one point, a college-age girl decided to lie down in the street. I thought — Oooh, a die-in is brewing, this could get interesting.

But after several minutes no one had joined her. So I went over and asked her, “Are you trying to start a die-in, or just sunbathing in the street?” She replied, “I feel it’s important to be in touch with the ground at this time. Perhaps someone will bring me some food.”

And on that disorienting note, I went on my merry way.

New at zombietime: Israel in the Gardens 2008

Just posted at zombietime — a new report about protests and counter-protests outside an Israeli independence day festival in San Francisco:

Israel in the Gardens 2008.

Here’s one of the videos featured in the report, as a teaser:

And here’s an exact transcript:

Israel is a racist state!
Israel is a racist state!
Israel is a genocidal state!
Israel is a genocidal state!
Free free Palestine!
Free free Palestine!
Free free Palestine!
Free free Palestine!
Long live the Intifada!
Long live the Intifada!
Long live the Intifada!
Long live the Intifada!
Intifada Intifada!
Intifada Intifada!
Intifada Intifada!
Intifada Intifada!

If you wish to comment on this report, you can do so here.