Occupy Dallas planning more events after arrests

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by JASON WHITELY

Bio | Email | Follow: @jasonwhitely

WFAA

Posted on October 24, 2011 at 11:34 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 5 at 3:26 AM

DALLAS — For 19 days, we've watched the Occupy Dallas protesters demonstrate peacefully downtown.

It all began with a march to the Federal Reserve Bank on October 6. But on Monday, the movement took a different turn as some members of the group blocked access to a Chase bank.

Police arrested 24 people, the first Occupy Dallas members to end up in custody in Dallas.

Monday's protest started like many of the others.

"We're fighting for your rights! Join us in our fight!" said one of the demonstrators, shouting through a bullhorn.

"Hell no! We won't go!" others chanted.

But the situation quickly devolved into a police action when two dozen demonstrators blocked the entrance to a Chase bank branch in downtown Dallas.

"They were sitting in front of the door saying, 'Hey, don't do business here,'" one of the protesters said.

The group was organized. They wore wet bandanas to protect themselves from pepper spray and used a marker to scribble an attorney's number on their arms.

Organizers said their message was to urge people to take their money out of national banks.

"We were encouraging people to close them out and head to a credit union or a community bank... a local bank," said Veronica Navarro.

The group locked arms.

Dallas police decided to forcibly remove them from the sidewalk.

A protester named "Rich C." recorded what happened next. His video shows fellow demonstrators being pulled apart by police. Officers even yanked one woman wearing a dress across the sidewalk.

Then officers carried each demonstrator away because they refused to walk.

"In a perfect world, things could have been a hell of a lot more peaceful, but this isn't a perfect world," Rich C. said.

It was the 19th day of Occupy Dallas, but the first time protesters clashed with police.

About two dozen were taken to jail. Each faces a criminal trespass charge.

An attorney representing the group said they may not be released until early Tuesday morning.

Occupy Dallas said it is planning more events in the coming days.

E-mail jwhitely@wfaa.com

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