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Occupy Fall River protests against Bloomberg for President



“Occupy Fall River does not support any candidates individually,” said Justin Rocha, the organizer of the protest, “but we do draw attention to the candidates we think are dangerous.”

Justin Rocha, a long time member of Occupy Fall River, told me that the group was having a reunion on Saturday because “ex-Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that he was going to run for President of the United States and has started trying to buy his way towards that end.”

Six people stood outside Bloomberg’s Fall River campaign office, located in the the former Fall River Herald News building near the government center downtown. Th event was entirely peaceful.

Justin Rocha

“I remember Michael Bloomberg when I was in the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York City,” said Rocha. “He was brutal. He used a lot of illegal tactics. A lot of the stuff he was doing to Muslims he was also doing to people with alternative political preferences and opinions… There were home raids…

“It’s kind of scary to think that he wants to run for President,” said Rocha.

“Occupy Fall River does not support any candidates individually,” continued Rocha, “but we do draw attention to the candidates we think are dangerous.”

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The protest welcomed participants and from all political affiliations, campaigns and political parties. The campaign was not “pro” any particular candidate – the protest was against Michael Bloomberg.

According to the Facebook notice for the event:

“Michael Bloomberg is a danger to democracy, liberty and free press in America. As the world’s 9th richest person, he is attempting to set a dangerous precedent of buying the Presidency.

Occupy Fall River listed the following reasons for opposing Michael Bloomberg as President:

  • Bloomberg has spent millions to influence or hush political groups throughout his career, including overriding a referendum to allow for a third term as mayor.
  • Bloomberg popularized the racist practice of Stop and Frisk in violation of the 4th Amendment, increasing tensions between police, people of color, and the communities they are charged with protecting.
  • Bloomberg institutionalized the illegal surveillance of Muslim citizens, socialists, communists, libertarians, Greens and anarchists in New York City which failed to find or prevent violent extremism.
  • Bloomberg supports taxes and bans on soda and sugar products, as well as other authoritarian policies that result in higher costs of living.
  • While mayor, Bloomberg increased the militarization of police and use of police violence in New York City, including the use of often underhanded and illegal tactics against protest and opposition groups.
  • Bloomberg has a history of racist statements and policies, openly claiming as recent as 2019 that most crime is caused by poor non-whites, so they should be focused on for crime prevention.
  • During Bloomberg’s tenure as mayor, disproportionate incarceration of people of color increased dramatically.
  • Bloomberg does actually pay protestors and community organizations to engage in or be silent on issues that benefit him.

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Steve Ahlquist is a frontline reporter in Rhode Island. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for half a decade. Uprise RI is his new project, and he's doing all he can to make it essential reading.

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