Vacant Bank Occupied at River and Water Streets in Santa Cruz

On November 30th, more than a hundred activists in Santa Cruz demonstrated in front of a Chase bank, before marching to and occupying a vacant bank building on River and Water Streets at 3 PM. A communique handed out shortly after the building was entered states, “This building is being re-purposed in solidarity with Occupy Santa Cruz. Formerly a Coast Commercial Bank, the building was bought by Wells Fargo, closed, and has been vacant for the past three years. The company leasing the building manages foreclosures for Wells Fargo.

“The building is being re-purposed under Federal and State laws surrounding ‘adverse possession.’ This law states that space is most beneficial to the people who use it. Spaces like this one, reclaimed from the wealthiest 1%, are places where we can seek redress to our grievances.”

The communique continues by laying out a vision for the building, “In the years to come, this space will be used to organize humanitarian efforts, house a library, and provide a forum for discussions. The General Assembly of Occupy Santa Cruz is also invited to use this space.

“This building will be a space for the expansion of our movement, please respect it as our new home.”

Signed, “OCCUPY THE BANKS”

At 6:30 PM, about two dozen cops attempted to enter the building, first breaking through a line a supporters on the outside, but then forcefully pushed backed by those occupying the building. The police then left the occupation, as dance music played for the people gathered both inside and outside the building.

By 12:30 AM on December 1st, approximately 75 people were holding strong inside the newly re-purposed former bank at 75 River Street in Santa Cruz.

See Also:
One Demonstrator Arrested During Occupation of Vacant Bank

On November 30th, Santa Cruz Police arrested a demonstrator named Joe on Water Street along the Post Office, while other activists were beginning the occupation of a vacant bank at 75 River Street in Santa Cruz. No witnesses knew why Joe was arrested, but he was later charged with “interfering with an officer”, and bailed out of jail for $100. While arresting Joe, the police made sure that he was not able to pass his video camera or phone to bystanders. Furthermore, his video camera and phone were not returned to him after he was bailed out of jail.

Photos of Joe being arrested:
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2011/12/01/18701459.php

Crossposted to Indybay.org: Part I & Part 2

Author: Bradley Allen

Bradley Allen is a reporter and photographer in the Monterey Bay Area, and a collective member of the San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center (Indybay). Follow him on social media: @BradleySA.