An anonymous Twitter user who goes by the handle @punkboyinsf posted video footage tonight that appears to show police officers arresting protestors outside Google's Mountain View headquarters. The protestors claims to be part of Occupy Google, an ill-defined group demanding net neutrality and presenting itself as a defender Internet freedom.
I have reached out to Google to confirm that the men pictured are Mountain View police officers and inquire about the arrests. I will update the post when I hear back.
In the video (embedded below), you can hear can an officer say: "Okay folks, at this point everybody here is under arrest for trespassing." One protestor yells, "I'm peaceful. I'm peaceful." @Punkboyinsf, who describes himself as an independent video journalist and political commentator tells the policeman in front of him that he's just documenting the demonstration and that he has a press pass. The officer tells him he's "actually" under arrest. When Punkboy asks if he can place his camera in his backpack, the officer says, "It's too, it's too late. Just relax."
The Occupy Google Twitter account, which launched less than 24 hours ago (just like the website), has been tweeting out pictures of the protest. Demonstrators alternately refer to the men in uniform as "security" and police.
Based on the Twitter timestamps, protesters began camping outside Google's office 12 hours ago. Things looked more peaceful during the daytime.
Then this evening, Occupy Google tweeted that police "jumped" the entire group and that more than 10 protesters are in custody. A representative of The Counterforce, an anonymous collective of anti-tech protestors, told Valleywag that they were in communication with protestors on the ground, who were no longer responding as of an hour ago.
Occupy Google's website prominently features a quote about liberation in the digital age taken from the book No Place to Hide, but misspells the name of the author, Glenn Greenwald.
When Valleywag looked at the pagesource this afternoon, it appeared as though the site was A/B testing content and did not include some of the more questionable claims, like the one that described the bills SOPA and PIPA as introducing "hella censorship."
The group tries and fails to explain why its protesting Google, which publicly supports net neutrality (although not within its own search results):
Though Google and other major companies such as Netflix, Amazon and Microsoft have come out in support of preserving a free and open web, we believe much more can be done.
Though many of us have concerns about the larger implications of Google's effect on the world, as far as surveillance and ties to military technology, we are not here to protest Google.
Google, with its immense power, has a social responsibility to uphold the values of the internet. We encourage Google to engage in a serious, honest dialogue on the issue of net neutrality and to stand with us in support of an internet that is free from censorship, discrimination, and access fees.
In March Facebook privately funded its Menlo Park police officer to work on campus, perhaps in anticipation of a growing backlash toward technology corporations. Google's annual I/O developer conference begins in a few hours.
Update: Mountain View Police Department confirmed to Poynter that they arrested 10 people Tuesday night. In the press release, police say it went off without incident and that Google was "supportive" of their right to protest, just not overnight:
Google allowed the group to be on the premises throughout the day on Tuesday and was supportive of the group's right to protest but requested the group pack up for the night, offering them the same spot the following day.
Starting at 9:00pm, the group was given multiple warnings by Google security to leave their private property by 9:30pm. These warnings were later repeated by Mountain View Police Officers. By 11:00pm officers had convinced the group to pack up and leave. As officers were escorting the group off Google property, two protestors choose to sit down and refused to leave. As these two were being arrested, some of the protesters left the area as requested by Google but several individuals remained. Google subsequently signed a Private Person's Arrests for Trespassing and ultimately ten were arrested without incident.
Update II: Google offered the following statement about the arrests:
"We're happy to have protesters on campus. And during these beautifully long days of summer, they're welcome here from sunrise to sunset (5:39am to 8:33pm to be exact) to have their voices heard."
To contact the author with any information about Occupy Google, please email email@example.com.