A group of Occupy protesters from California, who were heading to Washington, DC to participate in the Occupy Congress protest on January 17, were kicked off their Greyhound bus on Saturday night and left stranded in Amarillo, Texas.
The driver, Donald Ainsworth, allegedly called the Occupiers “you people” and told them they were not welcome in Washington or anywhere else. It is not clear whether there had been any precipitating incident.
According to an account posted at Reddit by Road2CongressOSD, “Donald Ainsworth immediately began yelling at all passengers in the lobby. Once he realized 13 passengers were with Occupy he began making personal and rude comments towards members when boarding with tickets. No one responded. Once the bus was boarded he began shouting ‘Sit down and shut up! Anyone standing is getting kicked off the bus.’ Several passengers, not just Occupants, began addressing the driver’s conduct. He left the bus, and locked all passengers within for over an hour. He made a lengthy phone call and before too long the police had arrived. The officer came on the bus and spoke with us, stating he knew Don’s attitude was poor but he had the right to remove us.”
The account goes on to say that the police offer and the driver then walked through the bus together “and Don asked every passenger ‘are you with Occupy?’ To the 13 of us who responded yes, the police ordered them to exit the bus. Then Don said ‘Anyone else support Occupy? You can get off too!’”
The Reddit post concludes by saying, “Also, a few random acts of pizza would be nice:)” According to Crooks and Liars, pizza did arrive from a local Papa John’s, and by Sunday morning the protesters were back on another bus and on their way. They say, however, that Greyhound has so far refused to offer any compensation for their inconvenience.
There does not yet appear to be any published explanation of the driver’s conduct or comment from Greyhound management. It is also not clear whether the driver would have been within his legal rights to order the protests removed without cause or whether his actions were in violation of anti-discrimination laws.
Greyhound’s own regulations specify that “carriers reserve the right to refuse to transport a person under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs, or who is incapable of taking care of him/herself, or whose conduct is such or likely to be such as to make him or her objectionable to other passengers or prospective passengers, or who refuses to comply with any lawful rule or regulation of the carrier.” Nothing in what the occupiers have said indicates that they were in violation of any of these criteria.
This video was posted to Youtube on January 15, 2012 by occupy17.