Angry tenants who refused to be forced from their foreclosed building in the 5900 block of West North Avenue were joined last Saturday by activists from the Occupy the Hood movement to protect tenants’ “basic human rights.”
The 12-unit building at 5960 W. North Ave. was foreclosed on three weeks ago on Oct. 14. Not all tenants have been properly served with legal notices of eviction. And, according to the event’s organizers, tenants complain they’ve been coerced and intimidated by representatives of the building owners.
“We have said in a collective voice that we will not be forced from our homes without due process,” said tenant leader Cynthia Barnes. “We have basic human rights that must be both respected and recognized. Our families did not cause the economic crisis that led to the foreclosure of our home, but we are the ones who must suffer.”
The Oct. 29 protest in Austin brought out dozens of people chanting and waving signs. The Occupy Chicago protests from last month brought thousands of protesters to downtown Chicago. The Chicago campaign mimicked the Occupy Wall Street protest from September in New York City that spread to other states around the country.
Organizers behind Occupy Austin say they will engage in nonviolent mass organizing outside the foreclosed building “to fight the greed and corruption of the top 1 percent, and to restore democracy in America.”
“Democracy is not a spectator sport. Democracy is active engagement in civilian life,” said Theresa Welch of the South Austin Coalition. “This economic quagmire and systemic inequality have created an epidemic of poverty in our communities. We have formed this Occupy Austin campaign to organize against the big banks and corporations that have destroyed our neighborhoods.”