Cops go nuts after Bloomberg backs down
UPDATE 6:43 EST: The standoff is over. Bloomberg has backed down! According to AlterNet’s Kristen Gwynne, the protesters were told, “park owners believe they can reach an agreement with us…also there’s a lot of [people] here.” Estimated at 2,000 to 5,000.There is jubilation in Zuccotti park right now, with triumphal broom-waving.
UPDATE 12:00 EST: Things are still pretty ugly. Police have had some spectacularly nasty interactions with Demonstrators:
- Fourteen were arrested during “celebratory protests”. Occupiers had taken their brooms and marched on Wall Street (video here) to “continue the cleanup.” Police reacted with violence. CBS says “Police clashed with some protesters, wielding their nightsticks and batons, WINS-AM reports. A police officer in a white shirt, possibly a captain, hurled his megaphone and wound up rolling around in the street with a protester, throwing punches. Other officers surrounded the white-shirted officer, throwing punches.” Video of that here. Gothamist follow-up here.
- A legal observer from the National Lawyers Guild had his foot run over by an NYPD scooter. Video at Youtube. The Gothamist reports: “The NYPD repeatedly drove scooters at high speeds through crowds of demonstrators during this morning’s march, and another demonstrator was beaten after kicking a police scooter. In this case, the unidentified legal observer will be charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, obstruction of governmental administration, and two counts of criminal mischief.” Another video here.
- Bloomberg accused other elected officials of “threatening” the owners of the public/private Zuccotti park. The owners said the were contacted by scores of elected officials to not to evict the occupiers, but didn’t use the word “threats”.
The movement that started it all, on Wall Street’s marble doorstep, has vowed to (peacefully) resist Mayor Bloomberg’s order for them to unilaterally disarm.
Mayor Bloomberg’s new deal for the occupation – they can stay in the park, but no tents, no sleeping bags, no lying on the ground or on benches, no tarps… in other words, they’re cleared for a picnic, but that’s about it. (see: Evicted! Mayor Bloomberg brings enhanced interrogation techniques to Occupy Wall Street).
The cleanup crews – with backup from the NYPD – are schedule to arrive at 7 am. The occupiers, who had initially been inclined to assist, will instead resist after being told of the Mayor’s emasculating conditions.
Writing at DailyKos, Hunter points out the irony:
A corporation giving unlimited contributions towards political campaigns: that is “free speech”. The Supreme Court says you can’t interfere. Camping in a public space to make an explicitly political message, however, somehow does not rise to the same level of protection.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka says Bloomberg may end up being “on the wrong side of history”. Fourteen City Council members sent a letter to Bloomberg, begging him not to do anything stupid. Their petition got through, but another one from the common folk – 310,000 signatures-strong – didn’t. A crowd of several hundred showed up to present it to the mayor… while he dined at the very chi-chi Cipriani restaurant. Rather than face them, the Mayor ducked out through the back.
As we reported yesterday, this isn’t really about public health… it’s about public relations (See: Why are they lying about Occupy Wall Street – and why are they getting away with it?). They want to shut down the protests – of course. They just don’t want to look like dicks when they do it. Here’s Occupy Wall Street again:
If Bloomberg truly cares about sanitation here he should support the installation of portopans and dumpsters. #OWS allies have been working to secure these things to support our efforts.
We know where the real dirt is: on Wall Street. Billionaire Bloomberg is beholden to bankers.
We won’t allow Bloomberg and the NYPD to foreclose our occupation. This is an occupation, not a permitted picnic.
And they won’t be alone:
Maida Rosenstein, president of UAW local 2110, said members of her chapter planned to begin gathering at Zuccotti Park in New York’s financial district at 7 a.m., possibly lending numbers to protesters’ ranks just as the cleaning is scheduled to begin.
“If the mayor thinks he’s going to evict these protesters and end these protests, he needs to know that New Yorkers are watching,” Rosenstein said. “The unions are going to be there tomorrow and are also watching.”
What you can do:
- Call Mayor Bloomberg and tell him you support the right of OWS to assemble!
- Inside New York City you can just dial 311; from outside NYC the number is 212-NEW-YORK.
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More on Occupy Wall Street:
- Occupy Sesame Street!
- Calvin and Hobbes explain Occupy Wall Street
- Occupy Wall Street: Mayors play good cop / bad cop; Seattle shutdown?
- Why are they lying about Occupy Wall Street – and why are they getting away with it?
- OWS: Veterans beaten, arrested at Occupy Boston
- Police continue harassment of Occupy Wall Street across the nation
- Police brutality catapults Occupy Wall Street into the mainstream media
- Does Occupy Wall Street spell the end of the Tea Party?
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