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.
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.”
FDL LIVESTREAM FROM OCCUPY WALL STREET
OCCUPY WALL STREET LIVESTREAM VIA GLOBAL REVOLUTION
9:11 PM Now, Naomi Wolf arrested. She is being loaded into a police van. Protesters at Skylight Soho event tried to march single file on a stretch of sidewalk in front of Skylight. Wolf attended the event. She came out and joined occupiers. @RDevro is on the scene. I didn’t see him though. I’m back at Liberty Park watching the medical tent because I see white-shirted officers plotting something. They aren’t here right now. There isn’t a police presence. But some kind of plot was hatched moments ago, I think.
8:57 PM The Big Bank musical came over when they saw me live blogging in Liberty Park. I shot a video that will be posted in the next 24 hours (hopefully). It’s fun. No police business. Just great revolutionary culture & spirit—what a movement needs to sustain its energy.
8:34 PM Quick report from Liberty Park: I live streamed the march against police brutality. There were a few great speeches at the end about incidents of police violence. I will post an excerpt on YouTube of a guy arrested in Times Square on October, who stood up and talked about being beat up by NYPD.
After the march, the group marching decided, spontaneously, to go and confront Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York, who just cut the millionaires’ tax in NY. He was at an event on Dominick & Hudson that was about a quarter mile away. The march went over and in about 5-10 minutes police had the group surrounded on the sidewalk. They had motorcycles and a white-shirted officer got on a megaphone to give a warning to leave the sidewalk or they woud be arrested. My phone was dying so I took a quick video and sent out what I was seeing.
Protesters were on their toes and moved so pedestrians could pass. No longer were they blocking the sidewalk. So, they couldn’t really be ordered to dispersed anymore. The press was moved. Lines were drawn where people needed to stand and the police were ordering people around. Then, Naomi Wolf showed up (author of The End of America). She told the protesters they don’t need a permit for a megaphone. She offered to take a question in and try and confront Cuomo. The 99 Percenters were excited to have the opportunity but everything became crazy as they could not agree what to ask him.
From that point on, this action imploded. They found out the event had a sidewalk permit. The event was enforcing that permit. Unless they moved, arrests would happen. The occupiers were agitated and a few didn’t want to move without seeing the permit. Some got angry at an organizer getting information from an NYPD commander. The group was turning on each other and yelling. It was clear everyone was tired. Someone needed to bring this action to an end with some sort of exclamation point and lead everyone back to Liberty Park.
Alas, the action wore on and they compromised. They all moved across the street to protest. The energy was gone. There was no reason for people to still be demonstrating. The point was lost because police motorcycles, police vans and more than 100 police were there babysitting the group.
4:56 PM At Occupy Wall Street, march against NYPD police brutality about to begin. Check the FDL livestream. I will be broadcasting live from the scene.
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.