Early this morning, at around 1 am, Mayor Bloomberg’s New York Police Department entered Liberty Square and forced all occupiers to leave. Those who refused to leave were arrested. The police then completely dismantled the camp. So, when I woke up this morning, the Occupy Wall Street camp was gone.
Like a number of Americans, I am just figuring out what unfolded early in the morning.
I have covered this from Day One. I am feeling like there is a huge void this morning. If this is what a journalist or blogger is feeling, I cannot imagine the pain, sorrow and possibly even anger or hatred the occupiers might be feeling, especially those who helped spark this movement by taking Liberty Square (Zuccotti Park) on September 17.
Below is streaming video of Occupy Wall Street demonstrators headed to interrupt Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is holding a press conference at 8 am. The mayor proudly defended the decision made to raid the encampment at 1 am in the morning.
Firedoglake’s premier live blog continues now. Here is a Twitter list to follow for the latest news and updates. And, in this moment, recall what David Crosby said, “The park is the spark.”
USTREAM OF OCCUPY WALL STREET DEMONSTRATORS VIA THE OTHER 99
11:36 PM Scene at Occupy Cal (via @joshua_holland1)
10:49 PM Chapel Hill officials defend the militarized police operation against an offshoot of Occupy Chapel Hill, which took over a vacant business.
10:14 PM Keith Olbermann’s “Special Comment” on Mayor Bloomberg’s value to the Occupy movement
9:52 PM Action unfolding at Occupy Seattle. Reports of a pregnant woman being pepper sprayed. Also reports that police are surrounding Seattle occupiers who are marching. Tune in to the Global Revolution livestream for the latest.
9:32 PM This is the livestream of Occupy Cal at UC Berkeley. There is supposedly a police standoff unfolding.
9:24 PM More on the conversations mayors had prior to the Occupy Wall Street eviction:
Mayor Sam Adams of Portland, Ore., said there had been two calls hosted by the organization “to share information about the occupying encampments around the country.” He described the calls as check-ins to share information and advice on how various cities were handling the demonstrations.
“We did not talk about what any mayor was considering in terms of any action or inaction,” Mr. Adams said.
9:05 PM Column from Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! on the eviction of OWS from Liberty Park posted at Truthdig:
One of the People’s Library volunteers, Stephen Boyer, was there as the park was raided. After avoiding arrest and helping others with first aid, he wrote: “Everything we brought to the park is gone. The beautiful library is gone. Our collection of 5,000 books is gone. Our tent that was donated is gone. All the work we’ve put into making it is gone.”
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s office later released a photo of a table with some books stacked on it, claiming the books had been preserved. As the People’s Library tweeted: “We’re glad to see some books are OK. Now, where are the rest of the books and our shelter and our boxes?” The shelter, by the way, was donated to the library by National Book Award winner Patti Smith, the rock ‘n’ roll legend.
9:00 PM ICYMI – This is a copy of the ruling from the hearing on the Occupy Wall Street eviction. The judge did not come down in favor of OWS when it came to tents and generators. However, the judge did find the occupiers had a right to be in the park 24/7 if they wanted and there was nothing about having sleeping bags in the park.
8:58 PM Watch the General Assembly in Liberty Park right now. The occupiers apparently face a curfew that will be enforced at 10 pm. And right now they are talking about how to move forward and establish another home base of operations.
4:36 PM Hip hop mogul Russell Simmons visits Occupy Boston and talks about the Occupy movement’s aversion to celebrities.
3:32 PM OWS occupier spoke on a panel organized by The Nation last week. He spoke about how he thought the biggest thing holding Occupy back was Liberty Square. This is the video of him sharing his wisdom and experience with the audience.
3:22 PM Judge Stallman, presiding over hearing on the temporary restraining order against the city, has retired and is reading papers and considering the issue. According to USLAW blog, he “hopes to have some decision about whether TRO should be extended by 3:00.” Obviously, it is after now and there is no report on his decision yet.
Here’s USLaw’s full live blog on the hearing.
2:01 PM @HuffPostHill posts this photo of a cop punching a protester last night.
1:32 PM Important action to note. The occupiers have not left the are and are still demonstrating in the city. They tried to occupy a space owned by Trinity Church. Daniel Massey, a reporter on the scene, tweeted this series of tweets:
While they waited, riot police began to amass and surround the occupiers. They then moved in the moment it was clear the church was not going to allow an occupation:
1:30 PM Democracy Now! goes inside the raid of Occupy Wall Street, talks to eyewitnesses.
1:14 PM The NYCLU reports Judge Michael Stallman will be presiding over the hearing on the permanent restraining order against the eviction. I found a Village Voice post from 2006 that indicates Stallman could decide in favor of the occupiers. The story is about the city trying to stop Critical Mass bike rides:
In a 24-page ruling issued late Wednesday morning, New York Supreme Court Justice Michael D. Stallman rejected the city’s motion for a preliminary injunction to bar people from going on the monthly rides and gathering in Union Square without permits.
He also rejected the city’s effort to prevent groups like Times Up! from promoting Critical Mass, unless there’s a permit for the event.
Although Stallman didn’t dismiss the city’s lawsuit, he said the arguments the city has presented thus far were unlikely to prevail.
12:31 PM Update on the court order:
Shortly after Judge Billing’s order was released and announced via Twitter, Facebook and verbally at the park, the city briefly reopened and reclosed the park. City officials say the park will remain shut until the issue is resolved by the courts.
A hearing is expected later today after court officials pick a new judge to handle the case.
12:27 PM My post on Bloomberg’s eviction: “Why Tents Have Little to Do With Reason Behind Occupy Wall Street Eviction”
10:39 AM Court order does say occupiers should be able to go back into the park. NYPD under direction of NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg is not complying. (Photo from @elliottjustin )
10:30 AM Yes, normally, I would be covering Occupy Wall Street, as David Dayen acknowledges, but Dayen was up when I was not. He was able to write something and get it together quickly so here is a summary on the eviction with mention of the temporary restraining order the occupation has won.
10:16 AM “Let’s go home!” occupiers chant. Occupy Wall Street is headed back to Liberty Square. Another group is staying put at 6th & Canal. Plans are being hatched for a General Assembly in Liberty Square at 7 pm.
In the meantime, it is worth reminding everyone that these plans existed before the raid and continue to exist:
-7 am – Ring “The People’s Bell” at the New York Stock Exchange (possibly disrupt the opening of the markets)
-3 pm – Occupy The Subways – 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”.
3rd Ave, 138th Street
163rd and Southern Blvd
161st and River – Yankee Stadium
301 Grove Street
St Jose Patron Church,185 Suydam St, Bushwick
Jackson Heights/Roosevelt Ave.
92-10 Roosevelt Avenue, Jackson Heights
125th St. A,B,C,D
Union Sq. (Mass student strike)
23rd St and 8th Ave
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.
10:14 AM The NY Daily News has posted a collection of reader-published photos of the raid on OWS this morning.
9:37 AM @OccupyWallSt posts this photo:
9:20 AM Photo via @katz of occupiers at 6th & Grand
9:12 AM On UStream, it seems there is a court order allowing OWS to return with tents. (Same court order linked to below?) A tiny bit of debate going on about leaving the square where they are to return to Liberty Park.
9:02 AM Statement from the group of NLG lawyers, who secured the temporary restraining order this morning:
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.”
8:48 AM Mayor Bloomberg press conference wraps. His statement to press was basically the statement circulating on blogs and news sites.
He again stated OWS was violating New Yorkers rights to “passive recreation” in Liberty Park, an argument that basically means #OWS was no longer letting citizens be apathetic so the city had to remove them. He said, the “First Amendment does not allow anyone to sleep in a park or to take it over.” He also used the temporary restraining order issued to absurdly frame the situation. He suggested the order made it so the city could not do what it intended, which is they had planned to let occupiers back in immediately after clearing the park.
When the mayor took questions, he was confronted by a reporter, who wanted justification for why credentialed press had not been allowed to cover the police raid. He said that this happens to press all the time because they have the same rights as everyone else and that is a right to safety. And, Bloomberg concluded his press conference saying OWS had violated NYC tradition of being open and welcoming.
8:13 AM From a New York Times article on the clearing of the park, details on a temporary restraining order against the eviction of Occupy Wall Street:
The police action was quickly challenged as lawyers for the protesters obtained a temporary restraining order barring the city and the park’s private landlord from evicting protesters or removing their belongings. It was not immediately clear how the city would respond. The judge, Justice Lucy Billings of State Supreme Court Judge in Manhattan, scheduled a hearing for later Tuesday.
Here is the court order from the State Supreme Court of New York that was issued, which says Occupy Wall Street should be able to return to the park now.
8:08 AM As I bring this live blog up-to-date, visit the Naked Capitalism blog for a good round-up of tweets and statements on what happened during the morning.
8:05 AM Mayor Bloomberg’s full statement on the clearing of the park.
7:56 AM CNN reporter in cleared Liberty Park reports 100 arrests this morning during raid.