Remember that “Approaching Storm” I wrote about last weekend; well it has arrived. Last night at about 1 AM EST, New York City Police, some in riot gear, raided and cleared the peaceful assembly of hundreds of American Patriots. They did so on the orders of the Billionaire Mayor York City who said:
“Unfortunately, the park was becoming a place where people came not to protest, but rather to break laws, and in some cases, to harm others,” Bloomberg said in a statement. “There have been reports of businesses being threatened and complaints about noise and unsanitary conditions that have seriously impacted the quality of life for residents and businesses in this now-thriving neighborhood.”
“Protesters have had two months to occupy the park with tents and sleeping bags,” he added. “Now they will have to occupy the space with the power of their arguments.”
Really Mayor Bloomberg? Evicting peaceful demonstrators at 1 AM, gassing and arresting those who resist, promotes “Public Health?”
Hundreds of Occupy Wall Street (OWS) Patriots were arrested during the sweep, most of them peacefully resisting arrest. Their belongings, not just confiscated — but destroyed and carted away to the dump. It was reported last night via the OWS website that some trying to leave Zuccotti (Liberty) Park were allowed to do so but without their gear and personal belongings.
3:15 a.m. NYPD destroying personal items. Occupiers prevented from leaving with their possessions.
For the most part the eviction was peaceful, restraint was evident among the OWS Patriots and the police. As I watched the LiveStream feed from the Kitchen Tent at Liberty Park where the OWS Patriots made their last time, one of the Patriots when asked how he felt about their current situation remarked;
3:16 AM EST: I’m scared as hell, but I’m not moving.
Here is a link to video of the gassing of peaceful OWS Patriots to clear the Kitchen Tent in Liberty Park. http://yfrog.com/163yiz
One of the more striking things that occurred in the early morning hours of November 15th was the effort by NYPD to prevent any media coverage of the eviction. All Press were ordered to leave, news choppers were prevented from flying over the demonstration and reporters who refused to leave were roughed up and in some cases arrested.
Mother Jones reported Josh Harkinson recorded his account of events at Liberty Park on his twitter feed @JoshHarkinson. Mother Jones has posted his account through Storify. Here are some of his tweets.
- As I was observing, a cop approached me and asked me who I was
- I told him that I am a reporter with a national magazine, He asked me who, I said Mother Jones. That’s when he said I had to leave.
- I said I would not,.That he would have to arrest me, but I would go peacefully.
- He said that all the press is in the press pen, and that’s where I had to go
- He literally started hauling me across the park. My feet were slipping on the ground.
- All around me, protesters were being pepper sprayed and zip cuffed
- I decided it would be better to stay out of jail and keep reporting on what’s going on tonight, so I let him haul me out, arguing with him
- He told me if I stayed in the park I would get hurt
- I Pointed out that there was no chance of that. I had just been standing around. Cleanup already done for the most part
- Then he dragged me in front of a dump truck that was backing up
- He said, “Look, this dump truck is backing up, you could get hurt”
To that end Occupy Wall Street posted the following on their website OccupyWallStreet.org this morning:
A Call To Occupy
To occupy is to embody the spirit of liberation that we wish to manifest in our society. It is to exercise our freedom to assemble. We are creating space for community, values, ideas, and a level of meaningful dialogue that is absent in the present discourse.
Liberated space is breaking free of isolation, breaking down the walls that literally and figuratively separate us from one another. It is a new focus on community, trust, love and hope. We occupy to create a vision of equality, liberty and social justice onto the blank paving stones of public parks, in the silent hallways of abandoned schools, banks, and beyond. Public space plays a crucial role in this civic process and encourages open, transparent organizing in our movement. As we have seen in Liberty Square, outdoor space invites people to listen, speak, share, learn, and act.
Last night, billionaire Michael Bloomberg sent a massive police force to evict members of the public from Liberty Square—home of Occupy Wall Street for the past two months. People who were part of a dynamic civic process were beaten and pepper-sprayed, their personal property destroyed.
Supporters of this rapidly growing movement were mobilized in the middle of the night, making phone calls, taking the streets en masse, and planning next steps. Americans and people around the world are appalled at Bloomberg’s treatment of people who peacefully assemble. We are appalled, but not deterred. Liberty Square was dispersed, but its spirit not defeated. Today we are stronger than we were yesterday. Tomorrow we will be stronger still. We are breaking free of the fear that constricts and confines us. We occupy to liberate.
We move forward in the grand tradition of the transformative social movements that have defined American history. We stand on the shoulders of those who have struggled before us, and we pick up where others have left off. We are creating a better society for us all.
Occupy Wall Street has renewed a sense of hope. It has revived a belief in community and awakened a revolutionary spirit too long silenced.
On Thursday November 17th, the two month anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement, we call upon the 99% to participate in a national day of direct action and celebration!
I think that anyone who has the ability to do so should join the two OccupyOC sites in Santa Ana and Irvine, to demonstrate our solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations and in support of the Constitutional First Amendment right to peacefully assemble and demand that our government address our grievances.
Will you join?