On the 19th of September, an "Occupy cabaret" puppet show visited a
variety of locations with activist history, such as the World Bank
before ending Franklin Square. A puppet show about the history of
Franklin School and the shelter there ended with one additional act-the
dropping of banners announcing the liberation of the building for the
third time. Occupy DC was backing up Free Franklin, a group of activists
who were occupying Franklin School.
Shortly before what was only promoted as a traveling puppet show left
McPherson Square, another march departed for the Egyptian Embassy in
solidarity with hard-pressed democracy activists in Egypt. Most of the
police followed that march, so by the time the puppet show arrived at
Franklin there was exactly ONE cop at the scene. The whole riot squad
would have made no difference, though, as the occupation team was
already inside the building.
It took the police several attempts to evict "Free Franklin" from
Franklin School, ultimately leading to 11 arrests as reported by the
Washington Post. The first two attempts tried to use a fire department
ladder truck to reach the windows of Franklin School, but unlike in the
2002 and 2003 occupations, police did not have reliable control of the
streets in which the fire trucks would have to work. The ladder truck
was twice turned away by protesters, in one case I saw by protesters
blocking the road directly in front of it.
With the ladder truck out of the picture, police fell back to attempting
to enter the building from the alley between 13th st and 12th st.
Apparently police did not have an easy time of it, taking until about
7PM to gain entry into the building. At that point,protesters set sit-in
blockades closing both ends of the alley, blocking in the cops. Police
lingered inside the building for a while with their arrests, finally
pushing their way through the 13th st blockade.
When the first of the two police vans attempted to leave the area,
protesters blocked the escape route-and the van surged forward anyway,
running over one person's foot as police tackled at least two more
protesters. I do not know if there were any further arrests, but at
least the woman whose foot was run over by the van was no arrested and
seemed to be able to walk on it OK.
By the time the last arrests were removed from the area, it was around
8PM, 7 hours after the Cabaret March hit the road and nearly 4 hours
after the occupation of Franklin School had been revealed with the
Background on prior occupations of Franklin School and its use as a homeless shelter
The history of occupations and uses of this school as a shelter started
with the eviction of the Olive Branch in 2002. That was in response to
Olive branch demands that the Reeves Center be used as a hypothermia
shelter. The eviction gave rise to MAYDAY DC, which stayed in 1006 M st
until the US marshals evicted them at gunpoint. Two days later, with
cops expecting a reoccupation of 1006 M st., MAYDAY DC occupied the
abandoned Franklin School instead. The demand was that since Mayor
Williams would not use Reeves for a hypothermia shelter, why not
Franklin opened as a shelter shortly thereafter, with former Mayor
Williams desperate to put an end to MAYDAY DC disrupting his campaign
fundraisers. The following year, 2003, it was closed at the request of
local businesses. MAYDAY DC intelligence sources found the McDonald's at
13th and NY Ave, had done the complaining, so after three weeks of
marches to Franklin from the Wilson Building, the McDonald's roof was
occupied. Two days later Franklin School was retaken. That time around,
the police decided NOT to arrest the occupiers, as many of them were
elders from the Gray Panthers. Franklin Shelter was reopened.
In September 2008, former Mayor Fenty closed Franklin shelter with the
intention of transferring the building to a developer. This was one of
many things that made him a one-term mayor. In 2010, during the current
administration of Mayor Gray, a hearing was held on declaring Franklin
"surplus" with no further public use. Community activists packed the
hearing-and I warned in person that any developer buying the building
On the 19th of November, 2011, that prediction came to pass, with Occupy
DC or activists working with Occupy DC seizing the building. A
community hearing has been set for Monday, November 21, (details TBA
when I can play my video clips!,) to solicit community input as to the
future of the building.
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In: Other News, Other Entertainment
Tags: Occupy DC, Friends of Franklin, Franklin School, Franklin Shelter, dcdirectactionnews, delusional twit
Location: Washington, District of Columbia, United States (load item map)
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