(NEW YORK) MintPress — They may have endured violent clashes with the NYPD on Saturday night, but (OWS) Occupy Wall Street activists returned to the streets almost immediately, and have now set up camp in the middle of the city. A posting on the OWS website reads “After the brutal attack on the attempted re-occupation of […]
(NEW YORK) MintPress — They may have endured violent clashes with the NYPD on Saturday night, but (OWS) Occupy Wall Street activists returned to the streets almost immediately, and have now set up camp in the middle of the city.
A posting on the OWS website reads “After the brutal attack on the attempted re-occupation of Liberty Square by NYPD on the 6-month anniversary of #OWS, a number of Occupiers have relocated their base of occupation to Union Square in midtown Manhattan, a point of convergence for several #OWS protests over the past 6 months.”
On Saturday afternoon, hundreds of people gathered in the Financial District and made their way through the streets holding posters with messages such as “Take back government from corporations” and chanting their familiar slogan, “ We are the 99 percent.”
Protesters later congregated in Zuccotti Park, where the movement began on September 17, 2011, and set up a green tarp in the center. After police evicted OWS protesters from the park in November, the city said they could still meet there but banned them from camping in it overnight.
Shortly before midnight on Saturday, police officers massed nearby and one announced that the park was closed. Demonstrators shouted back that the park had an agreement with the city to remain open. The commanding officer then told them that anyone who remained inside would be arrested and charged with trespassing.
Rapid police crackdown
Officers swiftly cleared the park, making several arrests, and started erecting metal barricades around it. Those who were detained were put inside a city but and taken to a nearby station. OWS says 100 people were arrested; the NYPD puts the figure at 73.
OWS later ran video of the action on the ground, writing “peaceful protesters are seen being tackled, punched, stomped, choked, hist with batons and thrown against cars for no reason other than sitting down to protest inequality in a public park.”
Particularly chilling was video of a young woman in handcuffs who apparently suffered from seizures and fell to the ground. Bystanders yelled for the cops to help her, but they stood by for several minutes doing nothing. One protester then called 911 and an ambulance arrived to take her to the hospital.
Police said the woman had elbowed an officer in the head; she was later arrested on charges of assaulting a policeman.
Media outlets were not allowed to cover the events.
On Monday, OWS demonstrators were joined by several City Council members in Manhattan to denounce the NYPD’s handling of the event.
“Occupy Wall Street movement are not terrorists, they are not enemies of the state. Why are the police treating them as such,” said City Councilman Jumaane Williams. Last month, he introduced legislation to reduce the number of “stop-and-frisk” searches by the NYPD.
Police say they have no information about whether protesters were beaten.
Meantime, the NYPD is trying to obtain the Twitter account information for a young man who sent a threatening tweet Saturday which read, “We won’t make a difference if we don’t kill a cop or 2.” The man who says he sent the tweet reached out to several media organizations, saying he lives in Florida and only meant his message as a joke.
OWS organizers say they believe the nicer weather will soon bring crowds back to Occupy protests.
Last Friday, OWS launched a weekly series of “Spring training” marches from Zuccotti Park to Wall Street to prepare for May Day, which it calls “a day of massive economic non-compliance and strike.” Organizers say the events will allow participants to practice various street tactics and “prepare to make the 1% feel the burn!”
It seems the 2012 showdown is just beginning.