The empire strikes back: NYC Pummels Occupy Protest

Under cover of night, New York City police have started to destroy the Occupy Wall Street protest area. NYT:

The New York City police began clearing Zuccotti Park of the Occupy Wall Street protesters about 1 a.m. Tuesday, telling the people there that the camp would be “cleared and restored” before the morning and that any demonstrator who did not leave would be arrested.

The protesters resisted with chants of “Whose park? Our park!” as the police began moving in and tearing down tents. The protesters rallied around an area known as “the kitchen” near the middle of the park and began building barricades with tables and pieces or scrap wood.

These night raids, as in Boston, are a sign of police and government weakness. If the police had the people behind them, they would be able to clear the Occupy encampments in broad daylight, and probably with general approval. In fact, because the protesters represent a significant fraction of the electorate, roughly estimated at about 100 million people nationwide, 44 percent of New Yorkers, according to recent surveys (Fox News says 69 percent approve of the Occupy protests, but that seems an outlier) authorities judge it better to work in the shadows.

Bloomberg is making his legacy in real time.

Recommended by mizjones, ealmquist.



Discuss

30 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Dismal night

    Heart’s sinking watching the livestream feed.
    Think the time’s come for elected leaders and candidates to rally, and publicly, if not behind OWS, behind the right to peacable assembly.

    Watching this sure puts the lie to the Brown ad–where are all those bomb thowing violent anarchists?.

    OccupyBoston’s doing a march in support of NYC at 5 tomorrow. Err, today.

    • Bob - thanks for posting. I had a Board meeting for 5:00 PM - am emailing my regrets to JOIN THE MARCH TODAY

      So I am canceling my attendance at a Board meeting, and may be late to my Town Democratic Committee Meeting to march in solidarity w/Occupy Wall Street – but more importantly, with DEMOCRACY.

      The danger is that what will be left for my children will be Tyranny – an oligarchy run by elite plutocrats but wrapped in the American flag and theatrical democratic trappings that are no more than a sham.

      Without the right to freely assemble (even to assemble and annoy those in power) there is no democracy.

  2. protesters have been there without permits, they are costing taxpayers tons of money.

    It is time for the to go home in the daytime( as well as at night when many sneak back)

    • They didn't need a permit

      They had an inalienable right.

    • Banks cost taxpayers trillions

      I don’t see them being cleared out. The problem here is one of balance: the government is not serving the people, it is serving a tiny minority.

    • Agreed.

      Go home and vote for change.

    • The law is agin ya here

      At 7:30 this morning, Mayor Bloomberg was served with a restraining order reaffirming the demonstrators’ right to assemble, and enjoining him to let them re-enter the park with their tents and equipment.

      • A restraining order that he is IGNORING

        So after the police ignore the lawful restraining order (reported in multiple sources), what’s next? When police and a mayor ignore a court order, isn’t that time for federal action?

        I’m serious, folks: can the attorneys here tell me what comes next, after the police and mayor’s office IGNORED this restraining order?

  3. Death by 1,000 cuts.

    NYC is only the latest in a move to end this movement. Nobody is against freedom of speech or to assemble, but I think camping out is a different story. Come back every day and protest, who cares. THis will end soon.

    • You should research the bonus marchers of WWI

      In the 30′s they camped out on the capital until Eisenhower and McArthur sent troops to drive them out, killing one and injuring hundreds. The rationale for attacking those veterans was the same as breaking up OWS – supposed outside agitators or anarchists [or communists, or terrorists...] causing trouble, inciting violence and being a public nuisance. Petitioning the government for redress of grievances through “camping out” has a long and storied history in this country – it’s a different story, but just as protected.

    • Take it to the judge

      The Court decided differently this morning.

      The words of this morning’s court order are clear enough (emphasis mine):

      IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that until this matter is heard on the date set forth above, respondents/defendants are prohibited from:
      (a) Evicting protesters from Zuccoti Park a/k/a Liberty Park, exclusive of lawful arrests for criminal offenses; and/or
      (b) Enforcing the “rules” published after the occupation began or otherwise preventing protesters from re-entering the park with tents and other property previously utilized.

      No matter what you think, Judge Lucy Billings decided otherwise at 6:30a this morning.

      What is YOUR opinion about a police department that ignored a clear and specific order of the Court?

      • We should know soon...

        From the NY Daily News…

        A judge hand-picked by protest lawyers signed an early-morning emergency order saying the demonstrators can come back with their stuff.

        But the city refused to reopen the park before a Tuesday afternoon hearing in front of a different judge. A decision was expected by 3 p.m.

        Don’t we often see some lowly judge issue something only to be reversed by an unbiased judge? Time will tell on this too.

        • Death by 1000 cuts...

          A New York Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that Occupy Wall Street protesters will be allowed to demonstrate in Zuccotti Park, but can’t live and sleep there with their tents and generators.

          • You haven't answered my question yet

            A Court Order was issued. The police ignored it.

            What say you about police ignoring ANY legitimate court order?

            • City made a gamble

              Like any litigant. Had they guessed wrong, they could have been subject to contempt sanctions– a fine, in essence.

              Evidently, they were quite confident that the order would be dissolved promptly. This isn’t a surprise, as the park is private property, and so the 1st Amendment wasnt particularly relevant. The real question is how on earth the OCW got the order in the first place.

            • I think that companies, people and sometimes government organizations...

              will decide that “risk” of disobeying a court order is worthy. I could give absurd examples of a court issuing an order which could cause immediate public harm which I would hope our authorities would ignore until a reasonable discussion could occur.

              I’m very happy that the reasonable judge agreed that the public does not have the right to camp on someone’s personal property. Does that sound fair to you?

  4. Regrouping

    The “occupation” part is an awareness tactic. It is easy to ignore an amorphous movement that only shows up 9-5, but when it is always there that is a different story. That said, while occupations should continue, but only if kept sanitary, tactics need to change more broadly. Actual pressure needs to be applied to bring the change people are demanding.

    Frankly, the part of this that will blow up in the face of the opponents of OWS is the press suppression. People will not like that. They will not like the idea that media were kept away from documenting the clearing…or worse. That is a HUGE problem and one that will not be taken lightly by Americans. You can disagree with the occupation component of the protests, but we have a right to a press able to cover it.

    • Agreed

      Makes me think of the backlash when convention delegates and reporters were pounded on by the Chicago police in ’68. Big difference this time: cel phone cams.

    • Good point

      Suppression of the press in this situation is indefensible. I hope this goes viral in the faces of Bloomberg and the NYPD.

  5. I am posting a link to the TRO allowing continued Occupation and a detailed story that makes Mayor Bloomberg look like the lawbreaker

    Long ago, Sinclair Lewis was perhaps the source of Theodore Dreiser said

    “When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag..”

    See http://oaktongb.wordpress.com/2010/12/15/january-2011-main-street/

    But, anyway, here is the cite to the TRO: http://nlgnyc.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Order-re-Liberty-Park.pdf

    and here is detailed coverage – from Fox News… http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/11/15/police-order-protesters-to-vacate-occupy-wall-street-camp-in-zuccotti-park/

    goes to what I have said before, without access to courts and justice, there is no rule of law and the best laws are “not worth spit” to quote myself.

  6. You can follow it

    Here: http://gothamist.com/2011/11/15/zuccotti_park_back_open_for_protest.php

    The Gothamist has been publishing a bit of the “other side” of the movement.

  7. I guess the intenet has been turned off

    but you should let folks know the Mayor prevailed in court today. OWS can protest at the park, but they can’t camp there. This is not surprising: the courts have allowed regulation of “time, place, and manner” of protests for long time. There is no inalienable right to camp out as a particular form of protest.

  8. Response #1 - it appears the FBI and Homeland Security initiated these crackdowns and equate protest, free speech, assembly with terrorism

    See http://www.examiner.com/top-news-in-minneapolis/were-occupy-crackdowns-aided-by-federal-law-enforcement-agencies

    My response to that is if the exercise of the rights protected in the Bill of Rights is treated as terrorism, than terrorism has won by being used as the excuse for the destruction of democracy.

  9. Will Mayor Bloomberg's cowardly 1:00 AM raid and destruction of the OWS and 5000 books destroy his political career?craock

    see http://blogs.wsj.com/metropolis/2011/11/15/mayoral-hopefuls-blast-bloombergs-occupy-eviction/?mod=google_news_blog

    Really – destruction of 5000 books (I guess those were the dangerous and unsanitary objects?) in a library??? And his potential political opponents are blasting his cowardly middle of the night raid and press/media suppression. Maybe he has a career to be had in, say, Kazakhstan where one would expect these methods and behaviors.

    Or, as one article says, THIS is how a police state begins

    link

  10. First let's agree that the police follow orders.

    Second, I don’t believe the police want any problem with protestors. They would be perfectly happy if when they were ordered to clear a park or remove protestors… the it would be a calm peaceful event… as in “please leave, no, okay then I have to arrest you so please put your hands behind your back…” But this rarely happens so then they have to use force. I think their conducting these actions in the middle of the night is not cowardice, it’s trying to make the event occur without violence… and I think it works.

    Would you rather they do it during the day when testosterone is pumping and people get hurt?

  11. Following orders was no protection at Nuremberg. Doing evictions during the day protects everyone!

    1. Following an order to gas jews, arrest gays, and gypsys was no protection at Nuremberg – and it is no defense to indulging in torture for wages, or unnecessary forces today: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/04/17/schakowsky-on-torture-jus_n_188395.html

    2. It is bogus that fewer people get hurt if evictions or unjust state actions happen at night. More folks trip and fall simply because they cannot see where they are going. Media (remember freedom of the press and the Bill of Rights) are prevented from monitoring and doing their jobs – and the mere fact of being able to sneak about and pummel folks thinking no one is watching is what pumps up testosterone.

    Your “when did you stop beating your wife frame” is a total FAIL.

    • I don't know about night vs. day

      But I do know that evicting people from private property is not something that can be credibly compared to “gassing Jews” or torture if the one making the comparison opposes the eviction and wishes to retain credibility.

    • Did you just invoke Godwin's law? I've heard mentioned here sometimes...

      Godwin’s law … when someone inevitably criticizes some point made in the discussion by comparing it to beliefs held by Hitler and the Nazis.

      • Nope.

        Godwin’s law (also known as Godwin’s Rule of Nazi Analogies or Godwin’s Law of Nazi Analogies)[1][2] is a humorous observation made by Mike Godwin in 1990[2] that has become an Internet adage. It states: “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.”[2][3] In other words, Godwin observed that, given enough time, in any online discussion—regardless of topic or scope—someone inevitably criticizes some point made in the discussion by comparing it to beliefs held by Hitler and the Nazis.

        Amberpaw made a quite valid point about an historical legal precedence (the Nuremburg trials) and it’s applicability here, and even added a link to a similar case and the thinking therein. Godwin’s rule would have been broached had anyone made comparison between Bloombergs actions and Hitlers: which comparisons no one has made…

  12. Everything depends on timing.

    One of the mayors in the crackdown spilled the beans. The prez is off bringing democracy and US troops to Australia so if the cops do the Hoover Bonus March scenario, Ludlow Massacre, or even ape the Qissa Khwani Bazaar massacre; he can deny knowledge and responsibility. Underlings can be blamed and sacked to join big paying positions in industry.

    So much for the promise of Change…

    And the Democratic Party can’t field a candidate to run the primaries against this administration? Who will Dorli Rainey vote for in ’12?

    Humbug.

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