The New York Police Department (NYPD) responded with brute force in the first hours of the New Year to Occupy Wall Street’s attempt to re-take Zuccotti Park. The police went after live streamers, others with cameras and even bystanders and a National Lawyers Guild (NLG) observer.
At least 68 were arrested. Updates posted on the action by Occupy Wall Street that unfolded indicate NYPD threw around livestreamers and bystanders as they were removing people and making arrests. The police also blockaded the sidewalk stopping a march and told Occupy Wall Street demonstrators they were “blocking traffic.” They brought in horses. They searched for individuals with “official press passes,” ready to eject citizen journalists who wanted to remain and bear witness to the NYPD’s aggressive policing.
Again, a member of the Global Revolution livestream team was seemingly targeted and arrested. NYPD has seemingly targeted Occupy Wall Street media team members in the past months. In December, NYPD targeted 17 people, who all had some level of involvement with media. They had been covering a flash mob action in Brookfield Properties’ Winter Garden.
An NLG legal observer was “ejected” and left as ordered. When the observer made a phone call, the NYPD ordered the observer to put down the phone. The observer was then arrested.
Police arrested people for simply crossing the street. They had been ordered to cross and when they did cross they were subsequently arrested.
NYT’s “City Room” reported an incident where police interfered with a credentialed news photographer:
Just before 1:30 a.m., security guards and police officers entered the park, where only about 150 people remained. A line of officers pushed protesters from the park and led about five people out in handcuffs. One officer used two hands to repeatedly shove backwards a credentialed news photographer who was preparing to document an arrest.
A police commander announced through a megaphone that the park, which is normally open 24 hours a day, was closed until 9 a.m., but did not provide a reason. A few moments later, officers told the crowd that had just been moved from the park that the sidewalks surrounding Zuccotti Park were also closed, and directed people across Broadway.
Police arrested people as early as 10:30 pm on New Year’s Eve. It was also about this time that occupiers piled up barricades that had been up to control the area surrounding Zuccotti Park (namely to help protect Brookfield Properties from Occupy Wall Street). An officer pepper sprayed occupiers.
Democracy Now!’s Ryan Devereaux was, as usual, on the scene to report on what was happening with NYPD and Occupy Wall Street. He posted a photo of a protester that had been punched and arrested. He reported a girl who was trying to go meet up with her boyfriend was arrested. Professional photographers were being thrown against walls and arrested.
Devereaux reported occupiers using Christmas trees to “block police that were following them” and said there were maybe three hundred occupiers out marching. He estimated about one hundred police were there to control the protest.
Hours before the scuffles with police at Zuccotti Park, occupiers participated in a noisy demonstration, where they visited the Metropolitan Correction Center and told prisoners, “You are not alone!”
Here are some videos from the night:
“Girl Arrested While Waiting for Boyfriend”
“Occupy Wall Street Celebrates New Year’s Eve in Zuccotti Park”