Just before midnight, NYPD officers moved in on the southwest corner of Liberty Park, the site of Occupy Wall Street for the past month, to take down and confiscate a medical tent that had been erected during the day. A commotion immediately erupted in this section of the park. Occupiers rushed over and a human chain around the tent was formed. And, Rev. Jesse Jackson suddenly appeared to help the occupiers defend the medical tent from being forcibly removed.
Rev. Jackson told the occupiers, “I am not visiting, I’m participating.” When asked to link arms and help the occupiers defend the tent, he linked arms with them. They stood their ground and were able to convince the NYPD to back down. [Here is video of the human chain. And, here are photos. ]
I suspected a raid of some kind would happen. Last night, around 6:30 pm ET, I watched a suit and an officer, who both appeared to be high-ranking, stand by the sanitation work station and discuss something in the park that needed to be addressed. I couldn’t hear the conversation, but I sensed they were planning something. [cont’d.]
The medical tent is the only tent up in the camp. It would seem, given the peaceful nature of the occupation, an agreement could be worked out to keep the tent erected. But, that has not stopped Mayor Michael Bloomberg from lying about Occupy Wall Street by labeling the camp a “tent city.”
“The Constitution doesn’t protect tents,” he said at a news conference in Queens. “It protects speech and assembly.”
The mayor expressed concern that those exercising a “right to be silent” might be getting drowned out amid the din of the protests.
So, in addition to the mendacious lie about the camp being a “tent city,” the mayor is saying people need to be concerned about the New Yorkers, who do not wish to exercise their First Amendment rights? Seems absurd. And, basically, underlying this “concern” is the belief that the elites know best (i.e. Bloomberg, Big Bank CEOs, NYPD Commissioner, etc) and the people, who are not a part of the elite, are out-of-bounds as they vociferously and persistently share their grievances with the media and the public. The people in the park aren’t meant to be taken seriously because they are not a kind of people that should be allowed to make decisions and run the country.
I have been in New York for about a week now (except for the two days when I was traveling to and from Occupy Boston). There is a narrative being constructed by the police and city. The cost of babysitting the occupiers is now millions of dollars. The police and city are going to repeatedly remind New York taxpayers that they are footing the tab for the peaceable assembly in Liberty Park. The occupiers need to expose this and find a creative way to neutralize this attempt to decrease the support New Yorkers have for the protest (currently, around 87% say they should be able to stay if they follow the law).
Firedoglake’s premier live blog continues. I’ll be down at Occupy Wall Street for another day of reporting on whatever happens. I will be conducting more interviews with occupiers and supporters.
Here’s the Twitter list to follow for the latest updates on all things “Occupy.” (cont’d)
OCCUPY WALL STREET LIVESTREAM VIA GLOBAL REVOLUTION
1:48 PM How banks became too big to fail: Mother Jones charts bank merger history
1:44 PM Occupy Wall Streets month of success: has gone global, flourished with diversity, gained support in the heartland and changed the conversation.
1:42 PM Adbusters calls for October 29 to be a day for a Robin Hood Global March
1:17 PM Al Jazeera English‘s “Inside Story” does panel on Occupy movement. Features FDL friend Dean Baker.
12:46 PM The Guardian covers the push for an investigation into Deputy Inspector Johnny Cardona’s assault on a protester
Marine Sgt. Shamar Thomas, who confronted NYPD in Times Square on Saturday, appeared on “Countdown w/ Keith Olbermann”:
I’ve been to Iraq twice. I was in a riot in Rubai, Iraq in 2004, where we had rocks thrown at us. After the rocks were thrown, we didn’t go beating up people and arresting people. You know what I mean? We kind of treated it with a level of humility. You know what I mean? And, to have the cop punching a woman in the face, to see that in my own country—You know my family fought for people in this country for people to have a right and these people are peaceful. I haven’t seen a video yet of people trying to hurt the cops or why they are using riot gear when there’s nobody starting a riot…
…There’s a time and place for things. When a situation arises that is when it is time to say, “You know what? The crowd is getting frantic.” When people are just shouting, “We are the 99 percent. Come join us.” These are not chants that incite violence. You know what I mean? The riot police were in form just walking and marching up and down the street like there was a battle going on. I’ve been in battle. There was not a battle going on.
12:36 PM “March Against Police Brutality” at 5 pm ET today in New York City to District Attorney Cy Vance’s office at 1 Hogan Place near Foley Square. Facebook event has further details.
On Friday morning, a senior NYPD officer sucker-punched Felix Rivera-Pitre in an unprovoked attack during an #OccupyWallStreet march. Now the police say they are looking for him and threatening multiple charges to cover up the assault.
Felix is a grassroots leader in the community group VOCAL-NY and has participated in #OWS solidarity actions during the past several weeks, including arriving early on Friday morning at Zuccotti Park to help resist the eviction.
Demand District Attorney Cy Vance hold the NYPD and Deputy Inspector Johnny “Fists” Cardona accountable for violence against Occupy Wall Street
I will be at the scene and intend to broadcast live on the FDL stream.
12:30 PM The Atlantic with 50 high-resolution photos of the Occupy movement.