Occupy Wall Street Faces major Setback

Occupiers Denied tents and cold weather gear for Winter

The New York Occupy Wall Street protesters, who started the now-global 'Occupy movement', have been dealt a devastating and potentially fatal setback, masterminded by NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

In the early morning hours of Tuesday, November 15th, between 1am and 2am, a surprise police raid came down upon the protesters while most of them were asleep. All the usual public spectators were gone for the night. Hundreds of police officers were involved. The operation was kept hush-hush, and no one (not the media, the public or the protesters) knew it was coming. Police trucks rolled in at about One o'clock, taking up positions near the park. Police turned on Klieg Lights and made announcements through loudspeakers that the park was to be evacuated immediately. Officers spread leaflets across the park spelling out the eviction order.

By 1:45, officers were moving through the park, clearing out protesters and hurrying the eviction along. The police set up a perimeter outside the park to keep anyone from returning or any suporters of the occupiers from entering. 140 people who refused to leave were arrested. Among those arrested was a City Council member, Ydanis Rodriquez, who rushed to the scene when he heard what was happening and was arrested two blocks from the park for trying to pass a police barricade.

At around 2am, a core group of protesters who refused to leave locked arms, and some tied themselves to trees. The tactic was only a minor delay and by 3:30, the park was cleared of everyone. The belongings left behind were gathered up (such as the Occupiers 5,000 book library) and at 4:00 am, sanitation crews came in to start clearing out anything left behind and scrubbing the park down.

There were a few clashes, including a point where protesters threw objects at a police car. One protester and one officer have been hospitalized. The media arrived but they were not allowed to enter the area. The excuse given was that it was for "their own safety". Most reporters were prevented from seeing the police action take place and claim to have been handled "roughly" by officers who made them leave the scene. This strange action hid the raid from public scrutiny.

The protesters wandered the streets and by 6am, they had regrouped at nearby Foley Square, which has been a frequent rallying point for the Occupiers. After an impromptu public meeting there, they headed to Duarte Square, a nearby park under construction which has been closed down. Protesters climbed the fence and gathered inside the currently unused park. Construction workers supported the protesters.

Mayor Bloomberg announced that the protesters would be allowed back later in the day but would not be allowed to bring their tents, backpacks, sleeping bags, heaters or any winter gear. He claimed that their constitutional rights to free speech and free assembly did not extend to camping out. The Mayor said they could go back anytime they want and protest again, but they could not bring anything with them that would indicate an overnight stay.

By as early as 7:30 in the morning, protesters had already begun their legal counter-attack, asking for a ruling on the legality of the eviction. A few hours later, Manhattan Supeme Court Justice Lucy Billings, a former civil liberties lawyer, ruled that the mayor's crackdown was unconstitutional and that the protesters must be allowed back with all their property, including the tents. Bloomberg, however, disagreed.

The Mayor blatantly ignored the court ruling and ordered police to continue the cordon around the park until he found another judge, Michael Stallman, who supported the Mayor's decision. The tent's were locked away in storage, as were other items seized in the raid.

The protesters have been allowed to return to the park since but security has been added to Zuccotti park. Both police and hired private security men have been stationed at the park's four entrances to search anyone entering the park, in order to confiscate any over-night gear or other items that might indicate a long stay.

With the winter approaching, the Mayor is obviously using the classic Russian war strategy of allowing the cold to soften up the enemy for them. Without sleeping bags, tents or heaters, there is no way for the protestors to survive the upcoming winter months. Several weeks ago, when NY had a freak October snowstorm, the Mayor and police commissioner Kelly confiscated all the heaters from Zuccotti Park, which caused several protesters to suffer hypo-thermia and other cold-related health problems. The heaters were ordered returned by a judge but now they are gone again, along with everything else.

Several injuries were reported, including councilmen Rodriquez who was seen on TV with a bleeding gash on his forehead, received while being arrested. The Mayor claims that all the injuries were self-inflicted by the protesters to make the police look bad.

Bloomberg claims that the raid was done for the sake of "Public safety" (claiming that rapes and assaults were going on in the park, although none have been reported) and public sanitation (Although the protesters have kept the park clean, dispensing of garbage and using public washrooms, despite the Mayor refusing to supply the movement with Porto-potties.)

Many city official have lambasted the Mayor for his heavy-handed tactics. City Councilmen Rodriquez remained in custody most of the day, refusing to use his clout to have himself released, just to make a point. Some members of the media are questioning the Mayor' s decision to create a press blackout of the event. State Assemblyman Sheldon Silver says he was shocked when he heard about the early-morning raid.

The actions of Mayor Bloomberg throughout this event have been questionable at best and unconscionable at worst. Let's look at his actions.

He claims to be an advocate of free speech but ignored a judicial ruling in favor of the protester's rights to free speech and assembly.

He owns several news media outlets but denied reporters access to the scene of a major news story, creating a news blackout of the event.

He claims the raid was for "health and Safety" reasons, and yet he is trying to freeze-out hundreds of people by denying them winter gear in the cold weather.

He got support two years ago from the city council to extend term limits so he could become a three-term mayor but then approves of the arresting of a city councilman for simply being at the site of a protest.

He publicly misinterpreted the protesters on TV by saying they are protesting against "stockbrokers who make $50,000 a year." Not true. They are protesting against the richest one percent of the country. (Of which Bloomberg is one. He is the 12th richest man in America.)

He claims that occupiers were inconveniencing members of the public who want to use Zuccotti Park, but now anyone who goes into the park has to be searched and will be turned away if they are carrying anything which can be interpreted as overnight gear.

He has mismanaged two natural disasters (The blizzard last year and the almost-hurricane this year, getting lots of criticism for both) and now he over-compensates for that, and mismanages the ousting of protesters (Again getting criticism.)

He recently had a large group of protesters arrested for briefly blocking traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge, but then had traffic on the bridge blocked himself for several days, inconveniencing New Yorkers for almost a week, so that the latest "Batman" movie could be filmed there.

If the Mayor hopes that the protesters will disappear peacefully, he is going to be disappointed. Members of the movement have vowed to fight a court battle to win the right to return to Zuccotti park. In the meantime, they are being temporarily housed by churches and other groups who support their cause and who see the Mayor's actions as cruel and unconstitutional.

The Mayor has made a tactical mistake. The Occupy Movement was losing it's media luster and if he had continued to ignore it, the fickle public may have forgotten about this old news and moved on to other things. This new event, however, has brought it back to the front page. Every time the police or the Mayor have exerted unnecessary force (The pepper-spray incident; the shrapnel from the tear-gas canister that injured an army veteran, etc.) it has only made the movement grow. This unfair eviction will most likely help the occupy Movement gain new supporters. And even if the NY chapter of the Occupy Movement is forced to retreat for the winter, the cause is still going strong around the country and around the world.

Despite Mayor Bloomberg's efforts, this is not the end!

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Comments 22 comments

jaywigz311 profile image

jaywigz311 5 years ago from Orlando, FL

Whatever it takes to keep this movement in the "Hot News" category is what I say. I don't think this thing is going to end any time soon.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

I hope you're right, Jaywig. I'd like to see this move backfire on Bloomberg and end up strengthening the cause.

Thanks for stopping by,

Rob


thisisoli profile image

thisisoli 5 years ago from Austin, Texas (From York, England!)

Politics and money should not be entwined, That is why some people now own more wealth that the remaining 99%, it is why money is being locked away, and why Americans suffer from a low quality of life when compared to otehr westernized countries.

I went for a job interview and I was told I would be offered a great benefits package. When I enquired about that I was told It included ten days paid holiday a year, as though that was a good thing?

The richest are sitting pretty and everyone else is losing out because of it. I don't mind there being an income disparity, but when 1% of people have more net worth than the remaining 99%, something is wrong.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

I absolutely agree with you. There has always been income disparity but never as massive as it is now. It's insane for 1% of the population of a democracy to hold that kind of power over the other 99% and over the government.

Thanks for the comments,

Rob


progressivist profile image

progressivist 5 years ago

Thank you for another excellent article! This is part of a coordinated crackdown on Occupy camps around the world that has happened in the past few days (I just wrote a hub on the details). We all know what happened in France in 1789, and again in the Eastern Bloc countries in the 1950s-1990. When a movement is driven underground a pressure valve is closed, and the movement figuratively "cranks up a full head of steam." If Bloomberg wanted the protests to go away he sure went about it the wrong way. The powers that be never seem to learn from history, and we all know what Hegel said about that!


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Good points, progressivist. I'm going to check out your hub because there does seem to be a coordinated effort from all over the country to get rid of this important movement. It's not going to be that easy for them to get rid of.

Thanks for the comments,

Rob


FloraBreenRobison profile image

FloraBreenRobison 5 years ago

I saw this on Jon Stewart. He did a halarious skit on famous "dangerous" arm linking aggression.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi Flora; Colbert did a skit about arm-linking, too, using the cast of the Wizard of Oz as an example. ("I happen to know they kill witches. You know the witch has to be part of the 1%")

Funny stuff but its a serious issue.

Rob


FloraBreenRobison profile image

FloraBreenRobison 5 years ago

Canadians have always followed satire.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

30,000 people gathered today for a march over the Brooklyn Bridge, which is the biggest crowd ever, so Bloomberg's plan to destroy the movement backfired.


jeanine 5 years ago

still, they could not take these steps against the masses if they didn't think they could get away with it... and sure enough because there is no clear cut message coming from the camp... they decided to strike now... the Gov't I mean... and if you believe the 1% is effecting the gov't then you can believe that... if not, then choose to believe that... what must be done is to stand up and speak out... we need to unite and we are not doing it... or at least do them we're not or they wouldn't have taking the chance and delivered the blow across the entire country.... I think they are all in on it... every Gov't every public official, banks, unions, all power in the entire country... it feels like it anyway...


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi Jeanine; it's most likely a coordinated effort by officials around the country. Progressivist wrote an excellent hub about how this is a coordinated plan.

The government and big businesses think they can get away with anything and sometimes they have to be reminded that they're wrong.

Rob


jeanine 5 years ago

Is Progressivist a mag... I'll check it out later.. can officials do that legally...and do you really think they do stuff like that... I mean the Gov't... I am conservative and have always been a republican sense I have grown up... when I was younger I was very liberal... and realize with some of the things that may be going on, I've decided maybe I am more liberal than I thought... I don't want to believe the wrong things about our country though... in that I'm just a red neck I guess...lol... it's strange to me that they would all do it at the same time... that feels to much like they really are in it together... I hope not... I have always thought so much of America... the idea is so delicate, like he movie with Russell Crowe in it... mmmmm... he's nice on the eyes...sorry... lol... they were talking about Rome... and how fragile the idea was... America is that way to me... the idea that we would all love or put up with one another is such an amazing concept that it gets me every time... I want to stand up and be an American... what is that... funny but there are people all over USA that feel that way... so as conservative as that is I don't want to loose that either... I want the best for the occupy bunch also...

I often wonder if those guys in DC just made up that liberal and conservative thing... I see all of us as one type... American... both liberal and conservative... for I am liberal when it comes to how we should help one another but conservative when it comes to my kids... I am very protective of them and don't want them to know some of the stuff that goes on and is being taught in schools today... so I am both... liberal and conservative... conservative in that I think the gov't should balance the books... but liberal in that I think there needs to be health care for all Americans... I want Mexicans to become citizens because I like their work ethic... yet I am conservative in that I believe Muslims are holding back on telling us the complete truth about their beliefs... so there is not a party running that really represents me and a lot of my friends... here in the south...


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi Jeanine; I'm not a part of any political party. I'm an independent, so I can't vote in primaries. I'm more to the left in my views but I still have a lot of conservative, old-fashioned values, too. I don't fit into any box either. And that's a good thing. Anyone who puts party before country (like those idiots at Fox news) or who is too closed minded to listen to the views of someone not in the same party as them (like Congress) is a stupid numbskull.

People need to start thinking and listening to things that are outside their usual confort zone. They might learn something.

Rob


jeanine 5 years ago

I think it's men having to be right that has gotten us into the trouble we are in... I do believe each movement must have a leader or a champion, if the people can't put a face on it, then the movement goes away... all of the great religions of the world had their champion, the civil rights here in this country had Martin Luther king,Malcom X and others... the beevis and butt head group had Garth...lol... even the liberals of 08 had Obama for Change... the right has that goof Rush.. each movement must have a savior to crucify or to lift up... don't you think... other wise... you have many like myself who would or want to support them(occupy) but can't or don't... I for one am clueless to what or who I should support... then if I ask these questions, some look down upon me for just being honest and asking why or what are they doing... then I feel foolish for asking. That behavioral qlitch so to speak, keeps many of us who are not so politically savy from lending our support... it's like the husband who is brilliant and when his wife doesn't or may not understand his genius, he becomes short with her... she loves him for his genius but also loves him as well for being a normal guy sometimes... yet when he is frustrated he sometimes looks her off or shows distain for her simple approach... she feels it and withdraws... eventually he wonders why he is losing her support for everything... the hurtful ways he has handled explaining himself is the real reason and it has nothing to do with her believing in him or his cause... I feel kind of like that with the occupiers... because I am not hipped up on all the goings on, I am perceived as non

supportive... or worse... considered stupid... and yes I could be slow when it comes to politics but I'm not stupid... I am thinking and it seems to be outside and I am not comfortable with it...lol...lol... I must be close to my comfort zone...lol... again I am enjoying the read...


jeanine 5 years ago

remember... it's in your tone... dummy... it's how you said it...lol...lol...lol... everyman gets that from the little lady of the house...lol... he says what did I say... and she says... it is the tone in which you said it...lol... I feel that with the occupiers... it's their tone that turns me off... lol... sorry I just had to add that... I'll try and be more on topic next post...lol...


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

I understand what you mean about them needing a spokesmen. Many people don't think so, and like the leaderless nature of the movement, because it is a pure democracy. However, a spokeman doesn't necessarily mean a leader and someone who speaks for the group in a concise fashion might be a benefit to their cause.

Rob


jeanine 5 years ago

I wished I had said that... lol... I have to many words sometimes... or the long way around the mount so to pseak... which is good for nothing I guess... well not entirely...lol slower is better when it comes to some things...lol... oh my did I say that out loud...lol...lol.. hey thanks for the response...


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 5 years ago from London, UK

Well written and very detailed report, Robwrite. I often say that we don't have that freedom or democracy they shouting about. This incident just proves it. In London they don't the same thing. I hope Occupy does not die a natural death. Mind you we all shoudl be there and get these city boys and bankers running. It is a crime which screams to high heaven.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi H;H; You're right that we should all be uniting to teach the 1% that we're not going to take this unfairness laying down any more. I'm glad that Occupy has spread all the way to London.

Rob


Xenonlit profile image

Xenonlit 5 years ago

They have to get off of permanently occupying wall street, so they need to stay around in other places and protest in other, much more creative forms. It would be cool to see an "occupy wall street bus" that would show up like a food truck: whenever and where ever, leaving before anyone can claim an anti OWS victory.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi Xenonlit; The NY protesters do appear all over NY; in Central Park, Union Square Park, Washington Square and elsewhere. They recently tried to protest on the street where Mayor Bloomberg's townhouse is but Bloomberg had the block closed off. (Nice use of power for personal reasons.) They do need a central location as a home base where they sleep and keep their essentials. I've heard they're trying to negoitate some warehouse space for the winter months. We'll see if that works out.

Rob

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