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Friday, Jan 27, 2012, 9:08 am

Report: 26 Arrested At Occupy Foreclosure Auction Blockade

By Allison Kilkenny

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Some 26 protesters were arrested yesterday afternoon at a foreclosure auction protest in Brooklyn, according to independent journalist John Knefel, who reports that around 80 individuals crammed into Brooklyn Supreme court, singing songs, and attempting a blockade against the foreclosure sales.

Occupy organizer Michael Premo puts the attendance figure slightly higher at 100 people with 37 arrests. 

After police made the arrests, there was some confusion regarding if the foreclosure sales were actually cancelled, or not, though Knefel tweeted that he spoke with four officers who said the auction was cancelled. 

As people were being escorted from the courthouse, Knefel followed-up by tweeting: "Update: just spoke w someone who was in court before, said that the auction DID keep happening. #ows #blockade," and later: "Court officer I just spoke w wouldn't confirm one way or the other. Said to ask people leaving what they "felt" happened."

Anonymous Oakland reports that the blockade was a partial success: "Foreclosure auction in Brooklyn disrupted, 26 reported arrests, only 1 of 4 homes sold. #blockade #OWS."

Another witness, @sabokitty, tweeted that the Kings County Foreclosure Court was only able to sell one property out of the four.

Video of the protesters singing in the courthouse (courtesy of Knefel):

Auction blockades are one strategy in a multi-tiered approach by Occupy to prevent foreclosures and alleviate the epidemic of homelessness. 

O4O, a group Occupy consults and teams up with on many of its home reclamation projects, has employed vocal blockades of foreclosure auctions for a long time. In October, nine people from the organization were arrested while successfully blocking a Brooklyn foreclosure auction.

The group also waged a campaign in early December called Occupy Homes when hundreds of protesters flocked to East New York's 702 Vermont Street in order to reintroduce a selected family to a home. Tasha, a mother of two children (ages 9 and 5) had been unable to find steady employment due to a combination of factors including the sparse jobs market and caring for her children, one of whom is autistic.

The website Occupy Our Homes features stories of families who are being foreclosed upon, and the actions of local Occupy chapters working to prevent individuals from losing their homes. 

The most recent video was posted yesterday and highlights the story of Occupy Atlanta and the Pittmans, who are working together to guard the family's home at 404 Glen Iris before marching to Chase Bank today where they will demand the deed to the home.

Allison Kilkenny is an In These Times Staff Writer and the co-host of the critically acclaimed radio show Citizen Radio. Her blog for In These Times, Uprising, focuses on efforts around the world to address the global economic crisis.

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