Condoleezza Rice & Occupy Demonstrators Fail to Meet Up in B-N

November 11, 2011

(Reported by Willis Kern from WGLT in Normal)

((UPDATE: This article has been updated to include later events))

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was scheduled to come to Bloomington-Normal Friday evening to speak at a private fundraiser for Congressman Aaron Schock. And organizers took pains to keep the fundraiser private from the local version of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

About 30 demonstrators from "Occupy BloNo" gathered in front of 2110 Longwood Lane on Bloomington's far east side, hoping to confront Dr. Rice.

Apparently at the last moment, locations were changed on the venue of the fundraiser. The demonstrators were at the Longwood Lane address for about 20 minutes. They marched, and expressed their concern about the money that is going into politics. They then quietly marched away.

Occupy member Amelia Hill of Normal says the twist didn't take her by surprise.

"It was somewhat expected," Hill said. "But it also goes to show that they aren't interested in seeing people expressing their views and interfering with their event."

Event organizers were selling tickets to the funder for as much as $2,500. The protesters oppose huge campaign donations and the political influence they say goes with the big ticket gifts.

The protesters also say they wanted to voice their opposition to alleged war crimes they say Rice committed during her reign as secretary of state.

UPDATE: Occupy Bloomington-Normal organizer Dan Thetford said in a news release that the protesters had received a tip that the Aaron Schock fundraiser had been moved to Lancaster's restaurant in Bloominton. The protesters went to that site, and while Congressman Schock and Dr. Rice had already left, other participants in the fundraiser were still present. "We entered Lancaster's as a group", writes Thetford, "refused to leave and, in unison, we all shouted the entirety of the Declaration of the Occupation of Bloomington-Normal, adopted from the Declaration of the Occupation of New York City." After police ordered them to leave Lancaster's, Thetford says they continued to demonstrate outside. He says members of Occupy Bloominton-Normal considered their work that night a "great success".

(Photo by Willis Kern/IPR)

Story source: AP