(Not much quality video is available right now from the actual eviction).
Occupy Wall Street protesters have been evicted from Zuccotti Park overnight. There was no prior warning given to the protesters before the police raided their camp in the middle of the night. They tore down all the tents and threw away everything in the park (all of the protesters’ belongings), including a large book collection that the group had acquired to provide entertainment and education to protesters.
As confused and angry protesters tried to work out how to regroup, sanitation workers cleared away mounds of trash from the privately owned, publicly accessible park, where hundreds of people had camped, then swept and mopped the granite space.
What they failed to mention that those “mounds of trash” were actually people’s tents and belongings that the police came in and tore down, and the city told the sanitation workers to throw away. A lot of anchors and pundits are saying the same thing: ‘I know that this might have violated their rights, but it was really messy guys!”
Yeah, and so’s my house if someone comes and rips everything up.
The media is portraying these pictures and videos as if they were taken right as the protesters left. But they weren’t. They were taken after the police had come in and destroyed everything. The media weren’t present in the park during the eviction. The police refused to allow reporters to report.
In justifying these actions, Mayor Bloomberg said that the Occupy camp had become a ‘health and safety hazard’ and that this was not a violation of these protesters first amendment rights (or fourth amendment rights). He said that protesters would be able to return this morning but would not be allowed to bring tents, tarps, or sleeping bags. There is also supposed to be a 10 pm curfew. The Mayor had this to say:
Protesters have had two months to occupy the park with tents and sleeping bags. Now they will have to occupy the space with the power of their arguments.
I didn’t know their was a time limit on how long people had the right to peaceably assemble.
A judicial order appeared this morning that would allow protesters to return to the park. Mayor Bloomberg said that the city had known about the order, but were still not letting protesters back into the park yet. He also said the city would fight the order.
But this is only a minor setback. Occupy Oakland survived, and so will Occupy Wall Street. There are too many frustrated people to be silenced. “You can’t evict an idea whose time has come“.
(More videos can be seen here)
Update: For more information about the court order, go here.
Update 2: The New York Supreme Court has ruled that the earlier court order will NOT stand. The protesters do not need to be allowed back into the park.