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