Live blogging the overnight attack on Occupy Wall Street
This morning came word that Zuccotti Park had been cleared out in the middle of the night by NYPD in riot gear and others. From news reports a picture is emerging of much of the possessions in the park having been put in piles and then dumped in waiting garbage trucks. An estimate of 70 arrests of those resisting has also been reported.
An NPR report said tents were slashed with knives by the police, the kitchen and medical center destroyed and most everything else trashed as well.
The park was power washed, is currently closed, and word has gone out that it will reopen at 8 AM but no sleeping bags or tents will be allowed.
I'll be adding info to this post throughout the day as more details emerge.
Click on OWS screen image below for official web site:
- 3:36 a.m. Kitchen tent reported teargassed. Police moving in with zip cuffs.
- 3:33 a.m. Bulldozers moving in
- 3:16 a.m. Occupiers linking arms around riot police
- 3:15 a.m. NYPD destroying personal items. Occupiers prevented from leaving with their possessions.
- 3:13 a.m. NYPD deploying sound cannon
- 3:08 a.m. heard on livestream: "they're bringing in the hoses."
- 3:05 a.m. NYPD cutting down trees in Liberty Square
- 2:55 a.m. NYC council-member Ydanis Rodríguez arrested and bleeding from head.
- 2:44 a.m. Defiant occupiers barricaded Liberty Square kitchen
- 2:44 a.m. NYPD destroys OWS Library. 5,000 donated books in dumpster.
- 2:42 a.m. Brooklyn Bridge confirmed closed
- 2:38 a.m. 400-500 marching north to Foley Square
- 2:32 a.m. All subways but R shut down
- 2:29 a.m. Press helicopters evicted from airspace. NYTimes reporter arrested.
- 2:22 a.m. Frontpage coverage from New York Times
- 2:15 a.m. Occupiers who have been dispersed are regrouping at Foley Square
- 2:10 a.m. Press barred from entering Liberty Square
- 2:07 a.m. Pepper spray deployed -- reports of at least one reporter sprayed
- 2:03 a.m. Massive Police Presence at Canal and Broadway
- 1:43 a.m. Helicopters overhead.
- 1:38 a.m. Unconfirmed reports of snipers on rooftops.
- 1:34 a.m. CBS News Helicopter Livestream
- 1:27 a.m. Unconfirmed reports that police are planning to sweep everyone.
- 1:20 a.m. Subway stops are closed.
- 1:20 a.m. Brooklyn bridge is closed.
- 1:20 a.m. Occupiers chanting "This is what a police state looks like."
- 1:20 a.m. Police are in riot gear.
- 1:20 a.m. Police are bringing in bulldozers.
7:51 AM Russian Television news report
Associated Press raw video footage shot around 1 AM this morning
8:10 AM CBS aerial footage of OWS group at Foley Square
8:37 AM Mayor Bloomberg news conference
8:55 AM OWS group walking on Canal Street
9:05 AM Canal Street area
(9:12 AM live feed stopped as CBS helicopter heads back to refuel.)
9:28 AM Live chat from OWS
9:33 AM Live chat from OWS
9:36 AM Live chat from OWS
9:43 AM Live chat from OWS
9:36 AM Live chat from OWS
9:51 AM Glenn Greenwald/Salon
Following similar raids in St. Louis and Oakland, hordes of NYPD officers this morning forcibly cleared Zuccotti Park in Manhattan of all protesters; New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg took “credit” for this decision. That led to this description of today’s events from an Occupy Wall Street media spokesman, as reported by Salon‘s Justin Elliott:
A military style raid on peaceful protesters camped out in the shadow of Wall Street, ordered by a cold ruthless billionaire who bought his way into the mayor’s office.
If you think about it, that short sentence is a perfect description of both the essence of America’s political culture and the fuel that gave rise to the #OWS movement in the first place.
UPDATE: A New York state judge this morning enjoined the city from keeping the protesters out of Zuccotti Park, but Mayor Bloomberg is simply ignoring the Order and deliberately breaking the law by refusing to allow them back in. Put another way, Bloomberg this morning has broken more laws than the hundreds of protesters who were arrested. But as we know, the law does not apply to the Michael Bloombergs of the nation; the law, instead, has simply been exploited into a weapon used by the politically and financially powerful to prevent challenges to their standing.
Could #OWS have scripted a more apt antagonist than this living, breathing personification of oligarchy: a Wall Street billionaire who so brazenly purchased his political office, engineered the overturning of a term-limits referendum and then spent more than $100 million of his person fortune to stay in power, and now resides well above the law?
10:00 AM Footage just up on YouTube showing the park after it was cleared and cleaning is underway.
10:05 AM a report in Gothamist.com:
(Photo below shows the park as it appears this morning.)
National Lawyers Guild press release issued this morning:
New York, NY: At around 6 AM on November 15, 2011, attorneys associated with the New York City Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild working as the Liberty Park Legal Working Group obtained a temporary restraining order against the City of New York, various City agencies, and Brookfield properties directing that occupiers be allowed back on the premises with their belongings.
Earlier, at approximately 1 AM, the NYPD began massing around Zuccotti Park “aka Liberty Park.” In the following hours reports surfaced that the NYPD entered the park with police in riot gear backed up by numerous police vehicles, including a bulldozer, evicting occupiers. In the process they destroyed property and arrested dozens of occupiers and protestors including NYC Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez and District Leader Paul Newell.
In the coming hours, days and weeks the LPLWG will pursue all legal options to enable the occupiers to continue to exercise their first amendment rights to speech and assembly for speech. Attorney Yetta Kurland, one of the attorneys from the LPLWG, said, “This is a victory for everyone who believes in the First Amendment. We will continue to fight for everyone’s right to continue the occupation.” In response to the injunction, Daniel Alterman, also an attorney with the LPLWG, stated that, “This is a victory for all Americans, for the constitution and for the 99%.” Gideon Oliver, another attorney with the LPLWG reacted by saying, “The LPLWG has been fighting to ensure their right to free speech from day one of the occupation. The occupiers right to free speech is based in our most core legal principles and we will be here till the end to fight for those rights.”
11:07 AM Footage is now up on YouTube of the mayor's news conference this morning.
11:15 AM Salon's Justin Elliott has been at the scene of the park and protest march this morning. Click on the image below to be directed to his live blog:
11:25 AM Huffington Post front page from this morning:
11:25 AM New York Times current front page. Click on the screen image for the article:
11:34 AM The message below was added to the official OWS web site a few hours ago:
11:40 AM Additional thoughts on the mayor's actions from Glenn Greenwald/Salon:
UPDATE II: To justify his raid, Mayor Bloomberg said: ”We must never be afraid to insist on compliance with our laws.” Leaving aside the fact that torturers, illegal eavesdroppers, wagers of aggressive war, Wall Streets defrauders, and mortgage thieves are some of his best friends who thrive and profit rather than sit in a jail cell, this is the same Mayor Bloomberg who, now beyond all dispute, is knowingly and deliberately breaking the law by violating a Court Order of which he is well aware. He’d be arrested for that if he weren’t a billionaire Mayor (and indeed, having seen that bevvy of political and financial elites break the law in the most egregious ways with total impunity over the last decade, why would Bloomberg be afraid of simply ignoring the law?). Today really is the most vivid expression seen in quite some time of the two-tiered justice system I wrote my book to highlight; the real criminals are not only shielded from the law’s mandates, but affirmatively use it as an instrument to entrench themselves in power and protect their ill-gotten gains.
11:50 AM Village Voice story on moments before and during the eviction:
2:50 PM Coverage by the New York Observer who had a reporter present when the police eviction was underway and New York Magazine which has offices overlooking Canal Street and 6th Avenue where the OSW group had congregated this morning. CBS aerial photos near the top of my post show the scene at that time from the air.
Click on each image for the links:
(New York Observer)
From the New York Observer:
We arrived on the scene shortly after one in the morning. Multiple protesters told us the raid began at about 12:40 a.m. We attempted to access the park multiple times but were told we could not cross the barricades despite identifying ourselves as press. Also stuck behind the barricades were photographers from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Reuters, a Japanese television crew, a man wearing a CNBC badge and an NBC cameraman who told us their live truck was blocked from entering the park. CBS reporter Manuel Gallegas also told us he was barred from the park.
“They’re kicking everybody out. Write about it,” Gallegas said.
At one point, we were able to catch a quick glimpse of the park. Police in riot gear lifted up a man by his ankles and wrists and carried him down the steps leading into the park. Other officers were dismantling the tents and throwing debris from the park. As we attempted to take photos, a group of police moved the barricades forward and ordered us to cross the street where the park could not be seen.
(New York Magazine)
From New York Magazine:
Public Advocate Bill De Blasio has released a statement calling Bloomberg's raid "needlessly provocative and legally questionable." Here's the full text:
“Protecting public safety and quality of life for downtown residents, and guaranteeing free expression are not exclusive of one another. Mayor Bloomberg made a needlessly provocative and legally questionable decision to clear Zuccotti Park in the dead of night. That some media and observers were prevented from monitoring the action is deeply troubling.
“I know of no one—protesters included—who desires a permanent occupation of lower Manhattan. But provocations under cover of darkness only escalate tensions in a situation that calls for mediation and dialogue. I call on the Mayor to find a sustainable resolution—as other cities have done—that allows for the exercise of free speech and assembly, with respect for the rights of all New Yorkers to peaceful enjoyment of our great city.”
4:15 PM New York Times City Room: books from OWS library not trashed as earlier reported, but rather are now at the Dept. of Sanitation facility on West 57th Street.
Also from the City Room blog:
Among the more than 200 people arrested on Tuesday was a reporter for The Local East Village, The Times's hyperlocal blog run out of New York University's journalism program. The reporter, Jared Malsin, was rounded up along with other protesters on Broadway near Zuccotti Park around 2 a.m. He managed to keep his camera rolling for a while, as he shouted at the police "I am a reporter. This is my press credential."
Mr. Malsin was released in the morning and charged with disorderly conduct. Read his post and watch his video on The Local East Village.
The new front page headlines and photo on Huffington Post at mid afternoon:
5:08 PM Announcement regarding the Nov. 17th Day of Action on the official OWS web site.
Click on images for the full information:
On Thursday November 17th, the two month anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement, we call upon the 99% to participate in a national day of direct action and celebration!
New York City
BREAKFAST: Shut Down Wall Street - 7:00 a.m.
Enough of this economy that exploits and divides us. It's time we put an end to Wall Street's reign of terror and begin building an economy that works for all. We will gather in Liberty Square at 7:00 a.m., before the ring of the Trading Floor Bell, to prepare to confront Wall Street with the stories of people on the frontlines of economic injustice. There, before the Stock Exchange, we will exchange stories rather than stocks.
LUNCH: Occupy The Subways - 3:00 p.m.
We will start by Occupying Our Blocks! Then throughout the five boroughs, we will gather at 16 central subway hubs and take our own stories to the trains, using the "People's Mic".
- Fordham Rd
- 3rd Ave, 138th Street
- 163rd and Southern Blvd
- 161st and River - Yankee Stadium
- Broadway Junction
- Borough Hall
- 301 Grove Street
- St Jose Patron Church,185 Suydam St, Bushwick
- Jackson Heights/Roosevelt Ave.
- Jamaica Center/Parsons/Archer
- 92-10 Roosevelt Avenue, Jackson Heights
- 125th St. A,B,C,D
- Union Sq. (Mass student strike)
- 23rd St and 8th Ave
- Staten Island
- St. George, Staten Island Ferry Terminal
- 479 Port Richmond Avenue, Port Richmond
DINNER: Take The Square - 5:00 p.m.
At 5 pm, tens of thousands of people will gather at Foley Square (just across from City Hall) in solidarity with laborers demanding jobs to rebuild this country's infrastructure and economy. A gospel choir and a marching band will also be performing.
Afterwards we will march to our bridges. Let's make it as musical a march as possible - bring your songs, your voice, your spirit! Our "Musical" on the bridge will culminate in a festival of light as we mark the two-month anniversary of the #occupy movement, and our commitment to shining light into our broken economic and political system.
Resist austerity. Rebuild the economy. Reclaim our democracy.
- Occupying steelbridge in morning
- Rally afterwards
- Subsequently occupying banks
A general strike of university students will be taking place in the following cities: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, Tarragona, Palma, Sevilla, Santiago de Compostela, Murcia, Madrid, Valencia, Castello, Alicante, Zaragoza
17:00: Demonstration in Madrid
Place: From Nuevos Ministerios to Puerta del Sol Square
Call: Assembly UAM-CSIC / 15M
Massive student strikes, flash mobs, rallies, and other actions will be taking place in dozens of cities: http://ism-global.net/germany_education_strike_nov17
5:13 PM Live blog from The Guardian regarding this afternoon's court ruling on Zuccotti Park use:
5.07pm: The full ruling is in. The judge says that, notwithstanding the First Amendment obligations to freedom of speech and assembly, "the owner has the right to adopt reasonable rules that permit it to maintain a clean, safe, publicly accessible space consonant with the responsibility it assumed to provide public access according to law."
He says goes on to say that Occupy Wall Street lawyers "have not demonstrated that the rules adopted by the owners of the property, concededly after the demonstrations began, are not reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions permitted under the First Amendment." He goes on:
To the extent that City law prohibits the erection of structures, the use of gas or other combustible materials, and the accumulation of garbage and human waste in public places, enforcement of the law and theo wner's rules appears reasonable to permit the owner to maintain its space in a hygienic, safe, and lawful condition, and to prevent it from being liable by the City or others for violations of law,or in tort It also permits public access by those who live and work in the area. who are the intended beneficiaries of this zoning bonus.
The movants have not demonstrated that they have a First Amendment right to remain in Zuccotti Park, along with their tents, structures, generators, and other installations to the exclusion of the owner's reasonable rights and duties to maintain Zuccotti Park, or to the rights to public access of others who might wish to use the space safely.
Neither have the applicants shown a right to a temporary restraining order that would restrict the City's enforcement of laws so as to promote public health and safety.
Therefore, the petitioner's application for a temporary restraining order is denied.
5.01pm: It's worth going back over some of the legal argument in court earlier. Karen McVeigh reports that the judge asked Douglas Flaum, acting for Brookfield Properties, if protesters would be allowed back into the Zuccotti Park, now the space is now clean. Flaum replied: "Absolutely." Would they be allowed to sit on benches: "Absolutely," the lawyer said. And use the space? "Absolutely". But Flaum said he drew the line at tents.
The position seems clear: Brookfield Properties gave a guarantee in court that, even if the judge made a ruling against "tents and tarps", the space would be open to protesters.
4.51pm: The mood at Zuccotti Park is despondent. But the ruling only means that the protesters can't camp there. The legal situation now is that the park should be opened, as promised by mayor Michael Bloomberg at his press conference at 8am today.
5:19 PM New York State Supreme Court rules against OWS and the use of equipment to camp at Zuccotti.
Click on the Huff Post image for more:
5:28 PM New York Magazine story on this afternoon's court ruling.
5:33 PM Live chat from OWS
5:40 PM Justin Elliott reporting on Salon about court ruling:
6:57 PM Live feed from Zuccotti Park:
Live video by Ustream