Around 1:00 AM in downtown New York City, police cornered protesters who have been camping in tents in Zuccotti Park (AKA “Liberty Park”) for the last two months as part of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Police, acting on an order from Mayor Bloomberg—the legality of which was specious—gave protesters only minutes to pack up and move, promising that the demonstrators would be able to return once police had “cleaned up” the area.
Then, for the next several hours, NYPD loaded protesters’ tents, food, equipment, and medical supplies into garbage trucks, confiscating as many as 5000 books that had been donated to the #OWS movement. Maybe more chillingly, all press was penned a safe distance away (and in the meantime, airspace above Zuccotti Park was also closed, so that even CNN’s helicopters couldn’t see in from overhead) in what was seemingly a concerted effort to squelch mainstream news coverage. City councilman Ydanis Rodriguez was supposedly beaten before his arrest, other reporters were arrested (with New York Times contributor Jared Malsin first among them), and still others had their press credentials taken away by police. But without the mainstream press present to either report or confirm, other stories—really damning, real-time reports and photos of police using tear gas and “sound bombing” to control the displaced crowds—had, by morning, become the stuff of speculation.
Meanwhile, celebrities on Twitter joined the outcry:
Photo: ows peaceful gathering downtown. Police blocking our way. http://tmblr.co/ZfxHVyByoR3d
#OWS moved out of Liberty Park “because they’re blocking 1st responders”- here’s my 1st response “that’s bullsh—t.”
A real life horror movie is unfolding in NYC as police tear apart #OWS camp. Watch here: http://www.livestream.com/occupynyc Stay safe NYC
Click #OWS for live streams & tweets. It’s surreal. Reports of beatings, pepper spray, no journalists allowed at all. Stay safe NYC.
Bloomberg’s NY is no place for the 1st amendment. Bloomberg serves Wall Street, now and forever. And Wall Street cannot handle free speech.
NYC Mayor takes play out of China’s playbook. Meets peaceful protesters with violent crack down, blocks media coverage, destroys property.
People in Liberty Park were pepper sprayed. Police beat women. Press pushed out so they could not witness the crackdown. Dehumanizing 99% #Ows
If confirmed, the thing that really gets me about the OWS eviction is the trashing of the donated library. What a monstrous touch.
RT @OccupyWallStNYC: http://pic.twitter.com/2wrzVz4p // OWS wasn’t always pretty. But if you think this looks better, you may now unfollow.
No, I’m not the 1%. I wish I had that much money and power, because if I did, I would use it to support #occupywallstreet.
If this sort of thing whets your whistle—and by “this sort of thing” I mean either mass uprisings or the future of journalism, I don’t even know—my favorite liveblog so far has come from Reuters. Except I think its editor, Anthony De Rosa, might need to take a nap soon.