Today's Evil Beet Gossip

Celebrities React to Police Raid of Occupy Wall Street

Photo: Joseph Gordon-Levitt liveblogs from the Occupy Wall Street raid

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:

Joseph Gordon-Levitt:

Photo: ows peaceful gathering downtown. Police blocking our way. http://tmblr.co/ZfxHVyByoR3d

Russell Brand:

#OWS moved out of Liberty Park “because they’re blocking 1st responders”- here’s my 1st response “that’s bullsh—t.”

Eli Roth:

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

and:

Click #OWS for live streams & tweets. It’s surreal. Reports of beatings, pepper spray, no journalists allowed at all. Stay safe NYC.

Sir Alec Baldwin:

Bloomberg’s NY is no place for the 1st amendment. Bloomberg serves Wall Street, now and forever. And Wall Street cannot handle free speech.

Mark Ruffalo:

NYC Mayor takes play out of China’s playbook. Meets peaceful protesters with violent crack down, blocks media coverage, destroys property.

and:

People in Liberty Park were pepper sprayed. Police beat women. Press pushed out so they could not witness the crackdown. Dehumanizing 99% #Ows

John Hodgman:

If confirmed, the thing that really gets me about the OWS eviction is the trashing of the donated library. What a monstrous touch.

and:

RT @OccupyWallStNYC: http://pic.twitter.com/2wrzVz4p // OWS wasn’t always pretty. But if you think this looks better, you may now unfollow.

Wil Wheaton:

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.

15 CommentsLeave a comment

  • WAAAH, I’m a celebrity, throwing my two cents in about an event I’m incredibly hypocritical for supporting, since they are part of the 1%.
    @RussellBrand – mind your own business and go back to England.

    About time the protestors were removed after they decided it’s OK to camp out in a PUBLIC park. They should be treated no differently than the homeless, who are told to move along or be arrested if they try to set up a campsite in a public park.

  • Who the fuck cares about who OWNS the space – this here protest is exactly against such mentality.

    The amount of ignorance is simply astounding; there’s a huge difference between homeless people who often chose to be homeless and often don’t care about anything, including their own welfare, dignity and hygiene (haha), and people with jobs, higher education, and argumented opinions who have gathered to express maybe the most revolutionary idea in this rotten society in the last 50 years.

    Oh, and as much as I think Russel Brand is absurd, he might stay in any country he pleases. The last time I checked America was, er, a free country.

      • This is certainly fair—the private company that owns the park issued a statement backing up Mayor Bloomberg’s decision to finally oust the protesters, so yes, that is absolutely their stance—but it mmmmaybe should be a little more outrageous to us that journalists were not allowed to cover the brouhaha. Like, at all. Like, even a little. Like, Al Jazeera ran a live feed taped by a 25-year old scampering across the city with his Android phone trained in front of him.

        More than that, these journalists were stripped of their credentials, handcuffed, arrested, whatever. I admit, maybe I haven’t been very concerned about the protesters (I love cops! True story). But if journalists can’t objectively cover the news without fear of bodily retribution—and I’m not talking WikiLeaks, I’m talking “some piddling mayor doesn’t get to control the news”—what do we really have? And that’s the part I find so chilling. People have been sitting on sleeping bags and eating canned beans for two months because they believe the U.S. has become a police state driven by corporate interests, and unfortunately the whole controlling-the-media-by-force thing does not exactly ruin OWS’s credibility. I mean, I’d thought the whole London kettling thing was creepy and alien and weird. This might be creepier to me.

        This does not mean that I am not totally irritated and harrowed anytime Alec Baldwin tweets anything ever.

    • Sure Bobby. Your views are called “communism” and were soundly rejected by the VAST MAJORITY of the citizens here in the United States way back in the ancient ages called the 1960′s and 1970′s.

      The only ignorance here is stated by your ridiculous views.

      And I’m sure the English will be glad to have you show up at protests in their country and criticize them, you being an American.

  • Anyone who actually buys into the propaganda that these protestors are ALL lazy, hippy, collectivists looking for a free handout are idiots. Good job having your pettiness utilized to distract you from corporate greed. Enjoy martial law and FEMA camps, sheep.

    • I can agree that not all of the protesters are lazy, hippie collectivists. But, deciding that you can take over a privately owned (but accessible to the public) park and live there, then have the nerve to cry and whine when the rules are actually enforced, is so ridiculous that they lose credibility.

      The protesters ABSOLUTELY have a right to assemble and protest. They don’t have the right to take over public / private space for days or weeks at a time.

      But the beauty of our system is that there is a final accounting – it’s called elections. If you don’t like what’s happening, then get informed, organize, put up a candidate or slate of candidates, then get your supporters TO VOTE.

      If you don’t have that level of support, it means the average VOTER doesn’t agree with you and your views. You then have two choices – continue to educate and organize or accept the fact that you are in the minority with your views.

      • I’d agree with you if it were possible for anti-establishment proponents to get fair media coverage. The corporate-owned media drums up a lot of non-issues to divide people, and undermine the whole movement. Our constitution is being raped, but they get people arguing over laziness, and liberal arts degrees, and communism just to distract them. Civil disobedience has worked before and will work again. I’d feel differently if the protestors were breaking laws against violent crimes, but they’re just sitting somewhere. Most of the real protestors realize they’ll never gain support through the normal channels, so they physically have to go stir things up to get attention.

        This is all not to say that a good number of hipsters haven’t jumped at the chance to sit around drinking fair trade coffee and chant nonsense. Unfortunately, these are the only types the media portray to represent the movement.

    • Haha. Get a grip indeed. The muting of the media is a huge problem, though, even though the elite control the real big media outlets. After all, they are the “fourth estate”…but nowadays erryone is just shitting on the constitution, so whatevs.

  • I can’t stop laughing. Apparently the 60′s and 70′s are not that ancient of a times after all. The ghost of (gasp!) communism still haunts your poor American hearts. I am touched. By the astounding amount of truth to the statement of the bigger part of the world about how ignorant Americans are.

    But wait, the bigger part of the world is oh so wrong! Americans have invented this revolutionary, brilliant, super effective system call capitalism. It leads to great things, Chuck.

    Now go and have a hamburger and watch some TV, and drink a Bud in my non-American, communist honor. And nevermind OWS. It’s just noise, anyways.

    Jesus wept.

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