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UNM Alumna Lila Martinez protests outside the UNM bookstore Oct. 8. Martinez was part of an Occupy Albuquerque demonstration that included more than 300 protesters marching along Central Avenue.

Protest nearly reaches 3 weeks

The Occupy Albuquerque movement officially changed its name to (Un)occupy Albuquerque after a vote at its general assembly meeting Sunday.

Protester Clint Cosper said the change addressed concerns some protesters raised about the negative connotations of the word ‘occupy.’

“Some feel ‘occupy’ has a charged connotation,” he said. “The U.S. has occupied Native American land and participated in colonization.”

Cosper said some members expressed concerns that changing the name would result in a loss of solidarity with the larger Occupy Wall Street movement, but the vote for a name changed passed.

More than 500 Protesters March, Party

More than 500 Occupy Albuquerque protesters demonstrated outside the Wells Fargo Bank and U.S. Bank on Central Avenue Saturday, and then returned to their camp for a fiesta.

“I heard someone throw out the number 560 people, and I think that was pretty close,” Cosper said. “Wells Fargo locked their doors … and said they feared for the safety of their patrons, which is ridiculous. We had a small group handing out fliers convincing people to move their money to credit unions.”

The group hosted a fiesta after the protest that included music, dancing and food.

Protester Andrew Dobin said the fiesta attracted nearly 200 people
“We had lots of food, there were various musical acts, and probably the highlight of the night was a Flamenco performance with dancers,” he said.

Dobin said there was no alcohol at the event.

Protesters Discuss Civil Disobedience

Albuquerque Police Department officers detained Occupy Albuquerque protester and UNM student Sam Kerwin during the protesters’ march Saturday.

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APD closed off a lane of Central Avenue for the march, then re-opened the lane and requested that protesters stay on the sidewalk. Kerwin was detained and cited for refusing to cooperate, protesters said.

“They (APD) used cruisers and SUVs to force people back on the sidewalk,” protester Clint Cosper said.

Protesters debated Sunday whether to stay on campus past their 10 p.m. curfew and risk arrest. Protester Water Singing-on-the-Rocks said it is important that the decision be made as a group.

“I don’t support people staying unless we all decide to stay,” he said. “If just a few stay and get arrested, that will look bad for the group. The media will say ‘(protestors) did something illegal and got arrested.’”

Protester Loren Jin said he would stay on campus even if it meant being arrested.

“I will stay here,” he said. “I don’t give a s***, this is our land.”

The group did not come to an agreement Sunday and tabled the issue for a later vote.


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