Mesh fencing that circled the magnolia trees in Santa Cruz’s Parking Lot #4 at noon on September 24th had been removed by 3:30pm and a painted cardboard banner hung proudly declaring, “Home of the Farmer’s Market Drum Circle 10 Years Here!!” The drum circle seemed as large as ever with more people gathered in the parking lot. Wes returned, along with others in Santa Cruz Trash Orchestra, and Food Not Bombs provided another delicious vegan meal. At one point there were at least two police officers monitoring the drum circle, but unlike last week, they maintained a low profile while people enjoyed the special community gathering.
Once again, metal stakes and green mesh fencing have been put up by the city of Santa Cruz to prevent the weekly drum circle and gathering in Parking Lot #4 next to the Santa Cruz Farmer’s Market. September 24th marks the fourth week in a row that police are taking action to shut down the traditional community gathering where people play music, share food and take time to try and enjoy life.
A plainclothes police officer was walking up Pacific Avenue on September 23rd. The plainclothes officer and the officer in uniform spent several minutes talking to another individual outside the Tampico near the Metro Center. Both the plainclothes police officer and the uniformed cop took photos of me after I took their photos.
The two cops then met up with Sergeant Harms and Debbie, a person who is concerned about the cleanliness of downtown Santa Cruz and inappropriate behavior. Two people were moved along by the police for the inappropriate act of sitting on the sidewalk too close to the downtown shopping directory.
On September 17th, two people were arrested in Parking Lot #4 alongside the Santa Cruz Farmer’s Market. Police lined Cathcart Street displaying batons and a riot control gun, but quickly drove away, while seditious beats emanated from the drum circle below the trees. People continued to play music, share food and enjoy their time in Parking Lot #4 without further disturbance from the police or fencing.
On September 10th, the City of Santa Cruz took measures trying to prevent the weekly gathering and drum circle in Parking Lot #4 alongside the Farmer’s Market. New mesh fences and several police officers were not enough to prevent Raging Grannies and other free-thinkers from singing, playing instruments, sharing food and reclaiming an important community space under the trees. Police took surveillance photographs, passed out information, and harassed some people, but the drum beats and musical notes continued on for another week.