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Occupy Wall Street protesters decry ‘corporate’ Black Friday, call off Egypt trip

Occupy Wall Street movement protesters called off a trip to Egypt citing security concerns and the need to focus on their own future after being evicted from Zuccotti Park. As Elizabeth Flock reported:

Occupy Wall Street protesters are calling off or postponing a trip to Egypt planned to show “solidarity” with their fellow protesters, citing the energy needed to deal with their eviction from Zuccotti Park and safety concerns in Egypt.

“As you know, right now Egypt is chaotic, and we don't have time to train people,” trip co-organizer Kobi Skolnick told The Atlantic Wire. But “the movement is still kicking beautifully.”

Egypt’s and Wall Street’s protesters have worked hand in hand since the start of the Occupy movement, with a key activist behind Egypt’s revolution, Ahmed Maher, even visiting Occupy recently to give his “brothers” practical advice. “We talk on the Internet about what happened in Egypt, about our structure, about our organization, how to organize a flash mob, how to organize a sit-in,” Maher told the Danger Room blog in October. And “how to be nonviolent with police.”

When police brutality was reported at Occupy Oakland late last month, Egyptians marched from Tahrir Square to show their support.

So it makes sense that Occupy protesters would have a trip planned to Egypt, and they even secured $3,000 from Occupy’s General Assembly to do so.

Occupy protesters from around the country have taken on the upcoming Black Friday shopping event to push consumers to avoid large retailers and focus on small businesses instead. As AP explained :

Occupy protesters want shoppers to occupy something besides door-buster sales and crowded mall parking lots on Black Friday.

Some don’t want people to shop at all. Others just want to divert shoppers from big chains and giant shopping malls to local mom-and-pops. And while the actions don’t appear coordinated, they have similar themes: supporting small businesses while criticizing the day’s dedication to conspicuous consumption and the shopping frenzy that fuels big corporations.

Nearly each one promises some kind of surprise action on the day after Thanksgiving, the traditional start of the holiday shopping season.

In Seattle, protesters are carpooling to Wal-Mart stores to protest with other Occupy groups from around Washington state. Washington, D.C., is offering a “really, really free market,” where people can donate items they don’t want so others can go gift shopping for free.

Others plan to hit the mall, but not for shopping. The 75-person encampment in Boise, Idaho, will send “consumer zombies” to wander around in silent protest of what they view as unnecessary spending. In Chicago, protesters will serenade shoppers with revamped Christmas carols about buying local. The Des Moines, Iowa, group plans flash mobs at three malls in an attempt to get people to think about what they’re buying.

After two months of Occupy protests around the country, some estimates of the cost to local police and municipal governments are above $13 million. As AP reported:

During the first two months of the nationwide Occupy protests, the movement that is demanding more out of the wealthiest Americans cost local taxpayers at least $13 million in police overtime and other municipal services, according to a survey by The Associated Press.

The heaviest financial burden has fallen upon law enforcement agencies tasked with monitoring marches and evicting protesters from outdoor camps. And the steepest costs by far piled up in New York City and Oakland, Calif., where police clashed with protesters on several occasions.

The AP gathered figures from government agencies in 18 cities with active protests and focused on costs through Nov. 15, the day protesters were evicted from New York City’s Zuccotti Park, where the protests began Sept. 17 before spreading nationwide. The survey did not attempt to tally the price of all protests but provides a glimpse into costs to cities large and small.

Broken down city by city, the numbers are more or less in line with the cost of policing major public events and emergencies. In Los Angeles, for example, the Michael Jackson memorial concert cost the city $1.4 million. And Atlanta spent several million dollars after a major snow and ice storm this year.

But the price of the protests is rising by the day — along with taxpayer ire in some places.

Related stories:

Despite attacks, Dems standing by Occupy Wall Street

Occupy Wall Street and conservative leaders: No love lost

AFL-CIO: Treat Occupy as picket line

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