Read Glenn Greenwald’s piece first. Here is what he says about Mayor Bloomberg:
Could #OWS have scripted a more apt antagonist than this living, breathing personification of oligarchy: a Wall Street billionaire who so brazenly purchased his political office, engineered the overturning of a term-limits referendum and then spent more than $100 million of his personal fortune to stay in power, and now resides well above the law?
David Dayen has the ugly details you won’t find in the corporate press. He writes that the police arrested “over 150 protesters who refused to leave, throwing their belongings in a dumpster, and preventing press from covering the event. The arrests included a New York Times writer, and a city councilman, who suffered injuries.”
The Brooklyn Bridge and almost all subway trains leading to Wall Street were closed over night. Counter-terrorism agents were on the scene. An LRAD sonic cannon was used. The NYPD blocked the airspace over the park to news helicopters. One journalist told a cop that she was press, and was told back, “Not tonight.” Even residential buildings around Zuccotti were locked down. This was real police state stuff.
I know that the First Amendment comes with that addendum, “Operative 6am-11pm M-F,” but absolutely nothing about this raid seems justified. Michael Bloomberg’s statement boils down to the idea that he needed to protect the public safety and health of the protesters by dragging them out of Zuccotti Park by their face and throwing away their possessions under cover of darkness.
David Atkins, writing at Hullabaloo, points out the parallels to the early days of Egypt’s popular uprising:
Watching it unfold has had the same surreal feel as watching the early days of Tahrir Square. As big as the story of the clearing of the park is, one of the interesting side stories is also that all the major news networks, cable and otherwise, were silent. They were showing no live video from New York. Only Raw Story had a live stream, still ongoing as of this writing. And as with Egypt, by far the best way to learn about events happening on the ground was via Twitter.
Raw Story has live streaming video.
Braden Goyette of ProPublica asks, and then answers (in great detail) the question, “Just how much can the state restrict a peaceful protest?”
Matthew Yglesias points out that Mayor Bloomberg has done not just the Zuccotti Park protesters, but the entire OWS movement, a huge favor:
… OWS was either going to end with the cops clearing the park, or else it was going to end with the protestors losing interest. It would be totally human and understandable for the protestors to end up fading away as the weather gets colder, but that would be demoralizing to everyone who’s come to look at the various Occupations as a key signal of popular discontent with rampant inequality. Instead, by ordering the protestors to be removed the Bloomberg administration has ensured continued relevance for the issue. All over the internet today all eyes are on New York and on Occupy Wall Street. Temporary injunctions have already been issued and there are sure to be more lawsuits. The worst possible outcome is for the movement to just kind of fade away, and by trying to forcibly clear the park with the NYPD, Bloomberg has guaranteed that won’t happen.
Erik Loomis at Lawyers, Guns & Money agrees, and adds some valuable insights.
Jason Boog at GalleyCat reports that the NYC police who raided Zuccotti Park trashed 5,554 books in addition to the protesters’ other possessions:
According to the city’s eviction notice, the “property will be stored at the Department of Sanitation parking garage at 650 West 57th St.” But the librarians dispute this: “it was clear from the livestream and witnesses inside the park that the property was destroyed by police and DSNY workers before it was thrown in dumpsters.”
The OWS Library feed concluded with this tweet: “The NYPD has destroyed everything at Occupy Wall Street and put it all in dumpsters, including the OWS Library. It’s time to #ShutDownNYC.”
BoingBoing’s Cory Doctorow has more on this:
Some collateral damage in the police raid on Occupy Wall Street: over 5,000 books comprising the #OWS library have been thrown in the trash. I visited the library yesterday and interviewed one of the volunteer librarians who slept in the book-filled tent at night and helped patrons find reading material and conducted information literacy work during the day.
Poynter has detailed information on journalists being arrested and roughed up.