NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg took the cowardly way out and ordered the NYPD to raid and clear out Zuccotti Park (aka Liberty Square) at around 1:30 this morning. Now, 1:30 is not morning – it’s in the middle of night. Under cover of darkness, and without allowing the media access to witness the eviction, members of the NYPD descended upon Zuccotti and ordered the protesters to leave. Those who didn’t heed the orders were hit with pepper spray or other acts of brutality, and arrested.
Mere days away from the two-month anniversary of the occupation, the NYPD lowered the hammer and completely dismantled the encampment, throwing away every scrap of Occupy gear, including around five thousand books from the group’s library, and arresting around 70 people (note: this is an early report and arrest numbers will almost certainly change).
Hundreds of officers cleared the square under the guise of a “clear and restore” campaign that would eventually permit the demonstrators to return after the cleaning. Occupiers obviously had a difficult time swallowing that line as they watched the camping equipment that had become their homes over the past two months heaped into the back of sanitation trucks. Some protesterschained themselves to trees in Liberty, and some early reports indicate the NYPD cut down the trees in order to remove the demonstrators.
I shared tweets from various journalists, alleging police press suppression at the raid
Around 1:00am on Tuesday, November 15th, the NYPD moved in to clear Zuccotti Park of all protestors and equipment. Members of the press, both independent and mainstream, were systematically prevented from covering the story, and journalists with The New York Times and NPR were arrested.“
The evicted protesters reconvened in other areas around lower Manhattan. Meanwhile, Mayor Bloomberg held a press conference – at which at they allowed something on the magnitude of a dozen reporters!
Meanwhile, the Mayor’s office was served at 7:50am with a restraining order issued by Judge Lucy Billings that said (among other things)
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, that, until this matter is heard on the date set forth above[ed note: TODAY – hearing happening at publication time, updates to come as soon as available]. respondents/defendants are prohibited from:
(a) Evicting protesters from Zuccoti Park, a/k/a Liberty Park, exclusive of lawful arrests for criminal offenses
(b) Enforcing the “rules” published after the occupation began or otherwise
preventing protesters from re-entering the park with tents and other property previously utilized.
Again, the hearing is in progress at this time. Live streaming from Zuccotti Park (currently occupied by NYPD, who seem to be breaking the provisions of the restraining order by not allowing people back in the park) on Ustream.tv/theother99
At this moment, according to the stream above, the judge has ordered the protesters to be allowed back into the park, with the tents. The story has just been confirmed by ABC news!
On the show this morning, I was joined by Greg Basta of NYCC, who gave the details about Thursday’s planned actions in NYC. Find all the details here (http://occupywallst.org/action/november-17th/) and here (www.facebook.com/BeyondMay12).
BTW, from the Beyond May 12 Facebook page:
Big CHEER as report just comes in that court decided that this morning’s order to allow the Occupiers back in the park MUST be upheld! Step aside, NYPD 🙂
Also, Jesse LaGreca joined me to talk Occupy Wall Street in general. Of course, we all know Jesse from this video of his interview with Fox “News” went viral:
Michele Bachmann: Occupy protesters were “ignorant” and “disrespectful”. She might want to refer to these 2009 videos.
Tomorrow, Matt Taibbi joins in to talk about Occupy Wall Street and his latest piece on the movement for Rolling Stone.