(Updated Nov. 18) Occupy Wall Street: `You cannot evict an idea whose time has come' -- Huge demos support OWS Nov. 17

November 18, 2011 -- Democracy Now! coverage of the November 17 day of action in support of the Occupy movement. Click here for transcript and more coverage.

Scroll down for earlier reports. For more on the Occupy movement, click HERE.

November 18, 2011 -- Occupy Wall Street --

On the November 17 Day of Action in New York, to mark two months since the Occupy Wall Street camp began and coming just two days after violent eviction of campers from Liberty Park in Manhattan, there was:

  • More than 30,000 people' rallied in New York City (NYPD estimated 32,500), including organised contingents of workers, students and other members of “the 99%”.
  • Actions in at least 30 cities across the country and around the world.
  • A commemoration of two-months since the birth of the 99% movement with a festival of lights on the Brooklyn Bridge.
  • A blockade of all entry points to the New York Stock Exchange; hundreds participated in non-violence civil disobedience.
  • A sense that a powerful and diverse civic movement for social justice is on the ascent.

Tens of thousands took action on November 17 to demand that our political system serve all of us — not just the wealthy and powerful. The NYPD estimated tonight’s crowd at 32,500 people, at the culmination of the day of action.

Thousands more also mobilised in at least 30 cities across the United States. Demonstrations were also held in cities around the world.

"Our political system should serve all of us — not just the very rich and powerful. Right now Wall Street owns Washington", said participant Beka Economopoulos. "We are the 99% and we are here to reclaim our democracy."

New York led the charge in this energising day for the emerging movement. In the wake of billionaire New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s pre-dawn raid of Occupy Wall Street at Liberty Square, 1 am, November 15, thousands of people throughout the five boroughs and the greater region converged to take peaceful action.

After Bloomberg’s action, the slogan “You can’t evict an idea whose time has come” became the new meme of the 99% movement overnight. The mobilisation today proved that the movement is on the ascent and is capable of navigating obstacles.

The day started at 7am with a convergence of a few thousand people on Wall Street. All entry points to the New York Stock Exchange were blockaded. "People's mics" broke out at barricades, with participants sharing stories of struggling in a dismal and unfair economy.

Through the course of the day, at least 200 people were arrested for peaceful assembly and non-violent civil disobedience, included city council member Melissa Mark Viverito, city council member Jumaane Williams, Workers United International vice-president Wilfredo Larancuent, SEIU International president Mary Kay Henry, SEIU 1199 president George Gresham, CWA vice-president Chris Shelton, CWA vice-president, Fr. Luis Barrios of the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization, retired Philadelphia police captain Ray Lewis, and many others.

"All the cops are just workers for the 1%, and they don't even realise they're being exploited", retired police captain Ray Lewis said. "As soon as I'm let out of jail, I'll be right back here and they'll have to arrest me again."

Bond trader Gene Williams, 57, joked that he was “one of the bad guys” and said supportively: “The fact of the matter is, there is a schism between the rich and the poor and it's getting wider."

At 3 pm, thousands of students converged at Union Square in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street. They held a teach-in to discuss their concerns about the prospect of a lifetime of debt and economic insecurity. They held a student general assembly and marched en masse to Foley Square. The rally at Foley Square was electric. It was remarkably diverse in participation, across race, religion, gender, and age.

As the rally concluded, thousands of participants walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, holding up lights — for a “festival of lights” to mark two months since the birth of the “99% movement”. (November 17 marks two months since the start of Occupy Wall Street at Liberty Square.)

"I worked hard and played by the rules, but when budget cuts hit last year I lost my job as an EMT and now I'm about to lose my family's home", said Bronx resident Carlos Rivera. "I'm sitting down on the Brooklyn Bridge today because it's not fair that our taxpayer dollars bailed out big banks like my mortgage holder, Bank of America, but they refuse home-saving loan modifications for struggling families like mine. It's time banks and the super wealthy paid their fair share and Congress helped people get back to work."

November 16, 2011 -- Democracy Now! -- Occupy Wall Street protesters return to Zuccotti Park after 200 arrested, camping barred. Read more.

Occupy Wall Street and the 99% movement persevere

UPDATED, November 15, 8.40 pm (NYC time) -- Occupy Wall Street -- Wall Street reoccupied! The feeling here at Liberty Square tonight is the feeling of a movement that is rising, building and making headway.

Following the 1 am eviction of Liberty Square early this morning and a long day of legal wrangling, the park was reoccupied late this afternoon. This evening, just after 7 pm, the first general assembly at the reoccupied park began. Using our 'people's mic', we declared together:

'They showed us their power. And we're showing them ours.'

We are here because we believe a better world is possible. We are willing to endure mistreatment, if by doing so we can help re-enfranchise the 99% and reclaim our democracy from the stranglehold of Wall Street and the top 1%.

November 15, 2011, report on Democracy Now! of the police attack on Occupy Wall Street.

We will push back against billionaire Michael Bloomberg and any politician who wantonly tramples on proud American freedoms: freedom of the press, freedom of speech and the freedom of Americans to peaceably assemble and petition for change.

We will overcome the obstacles placed before us. We will not be deterred. We will persevere. Our message is resonating across America, and our cause is shared by millions around the world. We are the 99%, and we want to live in a world that is for all of us — not just for those who have amassed great wealth and power.

You cannot evict an idea whose time has come.

Standing up for Occupy Wall Street

Socialist Worker reports on New York City's assault on Occupy Wall Street -- and activists' plan to respond to this attack on free speech.

November 15, 2011 -- New York City police destroyed the Occupy Wall Street encampment at Zuccotti Park in an early-morning surprise attack on November 15. Hundreds of people who were sleeping at the park found themselves surrounded by police with no warning, and then subject to arrest or the violence of the NYPD.

Many hundreds more responded when an emergency alert went out about the police attack. When they got to Lower Manhattan, they found the park ringed with cops equipped in riot gear, while other police rampaged through the camp, destroying whatever was left behind when the occupiers were evicted.

This was an outrageous and unprovoked attack on a peaceful protest -- an attempt to squelch dissent because the 1 per cent and those who serve them are threatened by the message of the Occupy movement against greed and corporate power. Now Occupy activists and all the people who have supported it need to use every means to mobilise -- and stand up for our right to protest and demand a better life for the 99 per cent.


City officials used the same excuse this time as they did when they tried to evict the Occupy camp one month ago, in mid-October: cleaning. Occupy protesters showed the absurdity of that charge with their own clean-up that turned the renamed Freedom Plaza into probably the cleanest park in New York City.

But more important was the several thousand people, led by members of the city's biggest unions, who mobilised overnight when the announcement was made that police would move in the next morning. The cops found a park teeming with people determined to keep the Occupy protest going. The city was forced to retreat.

Democracy Now! on November 15, 2011, heard eyewitness accounts of police violence against occupiers.

So this time, NYC mayor Bloomberg and his police moved in with no warning, hoping to accomplish what they failed to the last time, this time under cover of darkness. Socialist Worker contributor Jen Roesch describes the scene she found when she responded with many hundreds of people to the emergency alert.

Hundreds of riot cops had sealed off a two- to four-block radius around the park and ordered media to leave. When we arrived, we found subway stations accessing the area were shut down. Hundreds of people massed to the west, south and north of Zuccotti, but were greeted by lines of police in riot gear. I was standing next to a young woman whose friend was trapped in the park, and she was weeping--the riot cop in her face was sneering at her to "stop crying and go home, little girl".

As protesters chanted "This is a peaceful protest" the police very deliberately pushed into the crowd, driving hundreds of people further north. Several protesters, including City Council member Ydanis Rodriguez, were beaten and pepper sprayed while following police orders to retreat.

After an hour-long standoff with the police, hundreds of people marched north on Broadway to Foley Square, the site of the planned protest on November 17, in hopes of uniting with others who had come down to support the encampment. Throughout the early morning hours, hundreds of people continued to pour into Foley Square.

It will take more than a police attack on Zuccotti Park to stop the Occupy struggle. As the Occupy Wall Street website says, "You can't evict an idea whose time has come."

Among supporters of the movement, there is intense discussions about what to do next, so the picture of what's happening will change throughout the day.

OWS will hold two general assemblies on November 15. The first is at 9 am at Canal and Sixth Avenue--as this story was being written, as many as 2000 people had turned out for the meeting. A second general assembly is set for 7 pm at Zuccotti Park, which Bloomberg has said will be reopened after the "cleaning", but with restrictions on anyone staying overnight or establishing an encampment.

Responding to an appeal by lawyers representing the Occupy movement, a judge has issued a temporary restraining order against the city's ban on protesters returning to Zuccotti Park with tents and other equipment to occupy it overnight. Despite this ban, the park remains barricaded.

On November 17, a previously planned day of action called by OWS in solidarity with some of the city's biggest unions and community organisations, will certainly draw even more people to raise their voices in protest.

Bloomberg and the 1 per cent in New York City are trying to silence dissent. But the Occupy movement isn't going anywhere. We will raise our voices against repression and the greed and power of the 1 per cent.

'You cannot evict an idea whose time has come'

The following is a press release was issued by Occupy Wall Street and the police were evicting the occupiers.

 New York, NY — A massive police force is presently evicting Liberty Square, home of Occupy Wall Street for the past two months and birthplace of the 99% movement that has spread across the country and around the world

The raid started just after 1:00am. Supporters and allies are mobilizing throughout the city, presently converging at Foley Square. Supporters are also planning public actions for the coming days, including occupation actions.

Two months ago a few hundred New Yorkers set up an encampment at the doorstep of Wall Street. Since then, Occupy Wall Street has become a national and even international symbol — with similarly styled occupations popping up in cities and towns across America and around the world. A growing popular movement has significantly altered the national narrative about our economy, our democracy, and our future.

Americans are talking about the consolidation of wealth and power in our society, and the stranglehold that the top 1% have over our political system. More and more Americans are seeing the crises of our economy and our democracy as systemic problems, that require collective action to remedy. More and more Americans are identifying as part of the 99%, and saying "enough!"

This burgeoning movement is more than a protest, more than an occupation, and more than any tactic. The "us" in the movement is far broader than those who are able to participate in physical occupation. The movement is everyone who sends supplies, everyone who talks to their friends and families about the underlying issues, everyone who takes some form of action to get involved in this civic process.

This moment is nothing short of America rediscovering the strength we hold when we come together as citizens to take action to address crises that impact us all.

Such a movement cannot be evicted. Some politicians may physically remove us from public spaces — our spaces — and, physically, they may succeed. But we are engaged in a battle over ideas. Our idea is that our political structures should serve us, the people — all of us, not just those who have amassed great wealth and power. We believe that is a highly popular idea, and that is why so many people have come so quickly to identify with Occupy Wall Street and the 99% movement. 

You cannot evict an idea whose time has come.

NYPD raiding Occupy Wall Street!

November 16, 2011 -- Occupy Wall Street -- Liberty Square (Zuccotti Park), home of Occupy Wall Street for the past two months and birthplace of the 99% movement that has spread across the country and around the world, is presently being evicted by a large police force in full riot gear.

We will reoccupy!


  • 6:05 a.m. Liberty Square has been cleared. General assembly under way at Foley Square.
  • 3:36 a.m. Kitchen tent reported teargassed. Police moving in with zip cuffs.
  • 3:33 a.m. Bulldozers moving in.
  • 3:16 a.m. Occupiers linking arms around riot police.
  • 3:15 a.m. NYPD destroying personal items. Occupiers prevented from leaving with their possessions.
  • 3:13 a.m. NYPD deploying sound cannon.
  • 3:08 a.m. Heard on livestream: "they're bringing in the hoses."
  • 3:05 a.m. NYPD cutting down trees in Liberty Square.
  • 2:55 a.m. NYC council member Ydanis Rodríguez arrested and bleeding from head.
  • 2:44 a.m. Defiant occupiers barricaded Liberty Square kitchen.
  • 2:44 a.m. NYPD destroys OWS Library. 5000 donated books in dumpster.
  • 2:42 a.m. Brooklyn Bridge confirmed closed.
  • 2:38 a.m. 400-500 marching north to Foley Square.
  • 2:32 a.m. All subways but R shut down.
  • 2:29 a.m. Press helicopters evicted from airspace. NYTimes reporter arrested.
  • 2:22 a.m. Frontpage coverage from New York Times.
  • 2:15 a.m. Occupiers who have been dispersed are regrouping at Foley Square.
  • 2:10 a.m. Press barred from entering Liberty Square.
  • 2:07 a.m. Pepper spray deployed -- reports of at least one reporter sprayed.
  • 2:03 a.m. Massive police presence at Canal and Broadway.
  • 1:43 a.m. Helicopters overhead.
  • 1:38 a.m. Unconfirmed reports of snipers on rooftops.
  • 1:34 a.m. CBS News helicopter livestream.
  • 1:27 a.m. Unconfirmed reports that police are planning to sweep everyone.
  • 1:20 a.m. Subway stops are closed.
  • 1:20 a.m. Brooklyn bridge is closed.
  • 1:20 a.m. Occupiers chanting "This is what a police state looks like."
  • 1:20 a.m. Police are in riot gear.
  • 1:20 a.m. Police are bringing in bulldozers.


  • Call 311 if you're in the NYC area.
  • NYPD 1st Precinct: 212.334.0611
  • NYPD Central Booking: 718.875.6303
  • NYPD Internal Affairs: 212.487.7350
  • City Hall: 212.788.3058

Thousands of riot cops descend on Occupy Oakland, 32 arrested

By Joshua Holland

November 14, 2011 -- Alternet -- At approximately 5 am, hundreds of police officers clad in heavy riot gear descended on the Occupy Oakland encampment at Frank Ogawa Plaza and proved definitively that the hyper-militarised crowd control tactics that brought so much national attention to the city in recent weeks were unnecessary uses of excessive force.

Several local police agencies contributed as many as 1000 officers for the eviction, according to reports. They shut down a wide perimeter around the plaza and then moved up, block by block, in heavy lines, until the mass of protesters was pushed into the intersection of 14th and Broadway. Then, a large phalanx of riot police moved into the plaza itself, where they arrested 32 people who had chosen to remain in the camp in an act of civil disobedience.

At one point, police moved in and arrested about a dozen people huddled in a circle in silent prayer at the interfaith tent.

When I departed, police were tearing down tents and clearing the plaza. There were no reports of injuries, according to a National Lawyers Guild legal observer on the scene.

This was a striking departure from the tactics that Bay Area law enforcement agencies, working in cooperation with the Oakland Police Department, had employed on October 25 and the night of November 2. While police crowd control techniques are rarely pretty, people facing off with riot police as part of various occupations around the country probably don't have a good sense of the force used during the first eviction of Occupy Oakland – and during subsequent protests the following night.

It's the explosions and large volume of gunshots that made these actions excessive. The generous use of flash-bang grenades, tear gas and “less lethal” rounds deployed by police in heavy black body armor felt more like the opening scene to Saving Private Ryan than footage of, say, protests against the Vietnam War being broken up by helmeted police swinging batons. While the weapons deployed by police are designed not to kill or maim (if used properly), the visceral sensation of walking through streets dodging explosions and chemical agents while rounds crackle in the air creates an effect similar to that of actual combat – abject terror, disorientation and a sense of unease that lingers for days.

Those weapons do result in wounds – the tally for October 25 and November 2 was three broken hands, two head injuries (one of which, to Iraq war veteran Scott Olsen, was quite severe), a ruptured spleen and minor injuries too numerous to catalogue.

This morning, the police, buffeted by bad publicity resulting from two notably violent crack-downs on protesters, simply chose a different method by which to achieve the exact same goal. This time, they chose to follow the book – California's Crowd Management and Civil Disobedience guidelines (PDF) state, “Only that force which is objectively reasonable may be used to arrest violators and restore order,” and, unlike on previous nights in the streets of Oakland, they did just that.

In another departure from past practices, they let the protesters protest. Whereas police issued a series of orders to disperse on the evening of October 25 – and then unleashed a barrage of non-lethal weapons when they did not comply – this time they simply let the crowd blow off steam. The police erected and manned barricades to keep protesters in the intersection, where they chanted for an hour or two before losing steam and dispersing, without violence and of their own accord.

What this morning's eviction had in common with the one two weeks before is that the end-game is just as unclear. Protesters again promise to reclaim the plaza as soon as police leave. The Oakland City Council has reportedly entertained a proposal to hire private security guards to keep the plaza clear, but this is a cash-strapped city and one has to believe that the Occupiers\' resolve will outlast the city\'s private security budget.

Meanwhile, the occupiers plan to “reconvene” at 4 pm at the main branch of the Oakland Public Library. It remains to be seen if the city\'s smarter, less violent crowd control strategies will continue to prevail.

Portland council attacks Occupy camp

By Camille White-Avian

November 15, 2011 -- Socialist Worker (US) -- One of the largest Occupy movements outside New York City mobilised thousands of people through the night of November 12 to defend its encampments in adjoining parks -- but by the next morning, Portland's liberal Democratic mayor and the police who answer to him were able to move against the camps and shut them down.

Police sealed off Lownsdale and Chapman Squares, which are separated by one street, and city crews went through on Sunday and Monday, taking down the remnants of the Occupy camps.

But Occupy supporters, whose numbers peaked at about 8,000 during their standoff with police on November 12 night and November 13 morning, feel a sense of defiance, not demoralisation. Some of the occupiers have transferred the protest to downtown Pioneer Square. And with a planned November 16 walkout at Portland State University (PSU) by students eager to begin their own Occupy and the November 17 national day of action, the struggle in Portland continues.

The weekend showdown was triggered by Mayor Sam Adams' decision to issue an eviction order against the Occupy encampments for Sunday, November 13, at 12:01 am.

In his statement, Adams asserted that the eviction was not "an action against the Occupy Portland movement" but rather was in the best interests of the movement. "I have said from the beginning that I believe the Occupy movement would have to evolve in order to realise its full potential", Adams declared

Apparently, Mayor Adams figured that the best tool for this "evolution" was police nightsticks and pepper spray.

Like city officials in New York City and Oakland, Adams cited "health and safety concerns" as a pretext for the crackdown, but no one who supports Occupy Portland was fooled. Even before a general assembly could issue a statement, the activist and labour communities had already put out the call to defend the camp. As Occupy Portland's stated in its press release:

The city's evidence of increased crime around the Occupy site has only verified what is already clear--interpersonal conflicts, substance abuse and disorderly conduct arrests have increased. What the city of Portland has failed to prove, however, is that the protesters of Occupy Portland are direct threats to public safety and economic activity.

Occupy Portland itself is not the root of whatever ills affected the camps. On the contrary, they had become a gathering place for the 99 per cent, including people reeling from attacks on social services, the national foreclosure epidemic and poverty.

The system's inability to address such pressing social needs gave rise to the Occupy movement in the first place. If Adams truly shared the goals of the Occupy movement, he would have sent social workers, not police, into the camps.

Defending the camp

The November action to defend the camp began with a 2 pm march from the downtown waterfront to Lownsdale and Chapman Squares, each of which occupies a city block between SW Third and Fourth Avenues divided by SW Main Street. Throughout the afternoon, activists held safety training classes to prepare for the police repression anticipated by protesters.

Other activities included performances by radical troubador David Rovics, a community Occufest/Occupotluck and a bike swarm. Non-violence was the watchword for the entirety of the events.

As the midnight deadline loomed, the protest grew. What had been hundreds of dedicated activists throughout the day grew into a mass of thousands who took over the camp and the one-block section of Main Street between the two parks.

A police line met the protesters in the streets at the intersection of Main and Third. Meanwhile, hundreds of demonstrators stood on the steps of the Portland Police Bureau building across from the camp, many with cameras in hand and an elevated view of the action -- giving added force to the frequent chants of "The whole world is watching!"

As the midnight deadline passed, the energy of the crowd grew. Earlier chants of "Hey, Mayor Adams, send the police home!" morphed into "We won't go! Send the cops home!"

When organisers confirmed that police had been given orders to not make people leave until 2 am, a cheer went up. Among the protesters who pushed into Main Street, between the two squares, the mood was festive, with people laughing, dancing and talking excitedly. The sheer number of people filled everyone with a sense of giddiness.

Meanwhile, the police began to line up and restrict movement by stopping people from crossing Third Avenue while the occupation of Main Street continued. Tensions ran high as police and protesters maneuvered for position. The police could be seen in full riot gear, batons drawn and ready to swing. Protesters held their ground and called on others to pull in closer and reinforce the front lines.

When a protester allegedly threw a firecracker near police, police from the Lownsdale Square side of Main Street began to roughly push people backwards. There was a great deal of confusion when the police grabbed and arrested a man near the front, claiming as justification that he had thrown the object. Chants of "We are peaceful, you are not!" and "Peaceful protest" erupted. Some chanted directly at the police, "Quit your jobs!"

Other protesters began to link arms and cover their faces with bandanas as police pulled out canisters of pepper spray and pushed demonstrators even more aggressively. Then four police on horseback moved in to further intimidate and push people out of the intersection. During the chaos instigated by police, several people were pepper-sprayed.

But every time police aggravated demonstrators, it only served to harden the resolve of activists to peacefully hold the street. After roughly half an hour, protesters had pushed out into SW Third, forcing the visibly shaken riot police to stand on the steps of their own station and on the sidewalk of SW Madison around the corner from the protest.

As several thousand people danced, milled about and talked in the streets surrounding the squares, the police regrouped. Throughout the night, people came and went. Sometimes, it seemed like the crowd was thinning out, but still the number of people hovered above 1000 well into the early morning.

Feeling victorious and exhausted, many people went home between 4 am and 9 am. When the crowd thinned out enough, police felt confident in clearing the squares of whatever people and belongings remained.

Next steps

Occupy Portland held a general assembly at noon on November 13 in Terry Schrunk Plaza, which is adjacent to Chapman and Lownsdale Squares, to discuss next steps after the police took down the encampments. During the assembly, occupiers decided to move back into the parks from which they had been evicted, and over the next several hours, there were a series of confrontations that drew more and more protesters back into the streets as the police attempted to force an end to the demonstration.

For several hours, the local media reported a stalemate between police and protesters, until protesters eventually decided to move to Pioneer Square, a privately owned square in Portland's shopping district.

Meanwhile, city officials are attempting to turn the public against the Occupy movement by focusing on "damages" and "clean-up costs" at the parks that amount to some $50,000. But far more costly and wasteful was the money spent on police overtime -- money that could have been used for social services so desperately needed by the 99 per cent.

"We may have lost the parks, but from our standpoint the events of the weekend were a victory", Occupy activist Kari Koch told The Oregonian. "The turnout by the community was amazing. We are in a strong position to keep the movement going forward."

"We are out the parks, and into the banks", she added.

With spirits high, it seems only a matter of time until Occupy activists decide on one of the many parks in the area to set up a new encampment.

[Nicole Bowmer, Meredith Reese and Adam Sanchez contributed to this article.]

Submitted by Terry Townsend on Wed, 11/16/2011 - 14:24


NY Times November 15, 2011
Police Clear Zuccotti Park of Protesters

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg on Tuesday defended his decision to clear the park in Lower Manhattan that was the birthplace of the Occupy Wall Street Movement, saying “health and safety conditions became intolerable” in the park where the protesters had camped out for nearly two months.

Mr. Bloomberg said the city had planned to reopen the park on Tuesday morning after the protesters’ tents and tarps had been removed and the stone steps had been cleaned. He said the police had already let about 50 protesters back in when officials received word of a temporary restraining order sought by lawyers for the protesters. He said the police had closed the park again until lawyers for the city could appear at a court hearing later in the morning.

“New York City is the city where you can come and express yourself,” the mayor said. “What was happening in Zuccotti Park was not that.” He said the protesters had taken over the park, “making it unavailable to anyone else.”

The mayor’s comments at a City Hall news conference came about seven hours after hundreds of police officers moved in to clear the park after warning that the nearly two-month-old camp would be “cleared and restored” but that demonstrators who did not leave would face arrest. The protesters, about 200 of whom have been staying in the park overnight, initially resisted with chants of “Whose park? Our park!”

Law enforcement officials said about 150 people were arrested, most of them in the park but some outside. Most were held on charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

Among those arrested was City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, a Democrat who represents northern Manhattan. He was with a group near the intersection of Broadway and Vesey Street that was attempting to link up with protesters at Zuccotti Park. The group tried to push through a line of officers trying to prevent people from reaching the park. Mr. Rodriquez was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

The operation in and around Zuccotti Park was intended to empty the birthplace of a protest movement that has inspired hundreds of tent cities from coast to coast. On Monday in Oakland, Calif., hundreds of police officers raided the main encampment there, arresting 33 people. Protesters returned later in the day. But the Oakland police said no one would be allowed to sleep there anymore, and promised to clear a second camp nearby.

The police action was quickly challenged as lawyers for the protesters obtained a temporary restraining order barring the city and the park’s private landlord from evicting protesters or removing their belongings. It was not immediately clear how the city would respond. The judge, Justice Lucy Billings of State Supreme Court in Manhattan, scheduled a hearing for Tuesday.

The mayor, at his news conference, read a statement he had issued around 6 a.m. explaining the reasoning behind the sweep. “The law that created Zuccotti Park required that it be open for the public to enjoy for passive recreation 24 hours a day,” the mayor said in the statement. “Every since the occupation began, that law has not been complied with” because the protesters had taken over the park, “making it unavailable to anyone else.”

“I have become increasingly concerned — as had the park’s owner, Brookfield Properties — that the occupation was coming to pose a health and fire safety hazard to the protesters and to the surrounding community,” Mr. Bloomberg said. He added that on Monday, Brookfield asked the city to assist in enforcing “the no sleeping and camping rules.

“But make no mistake,” the mayor said, “the final decision to act was mine and mine alone.”

Some of the displaced protesters regrouped a few blocks away at Foley Square, with the row of courthouses on Centre Street as a backdrop and police officers looking on. The protesters swapped stories of their confrontations with the police and talked about what to do next.

One protester at Foley Square, Nate Barchus, 23, said the eviction was likely to galvanize supporters, particularly because a series of gatherings had already been planned for Thursday, the protest’s two-month anniversary.

“This,” he said, referring to the early-morning sweep, “reminds everyone who was occupying exactly why they were occupying.”

At the park they had occupied since mid-September, workers using power washers blasted water over the stone that covers the ground. Soon the park caught the attention of people passing by on their way to work who had become accustomed to seeing the protesters’ tents and tarps.

The operation to clear the park had begun near the Brooklyn Bridge, where the police gathered before moving on to surround the park. The protesters rallied around an area known as the kitchen, near the middle of the park, and began putting up makeshift barricades with tables and pieces of scrap wood.

Over the next two hours, dozens of protesters left the park while a core group of about 100 dug in around the food area. Many locked arms and defied police orders to leave. By 3 a.m., dozens of officers in helmets, watched over by Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, closed in on those who remained. The police pulled them out one by one and handcuffed them. Most were led out without incident.

The Police Department’s chief spokesman, Paul J. Browne, told The Associated Press that 70 people had been arrested in the park, including some who had chained themselves together.

The officers had gathered between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges earlier and rode in vans to the one-square-block park. They entered about 1 a.m.

As they did, dozens of protesters linked arms and shouted “No retreat, no surrender,” “This is our home” and “Barricade!”

The mayor’s office sent out a message on Twitter at 1:19 a.m. saying: “Occupants of Zuccotti should temporarily leave and remove tents and tarps. Protesters can return after the park is cleared.” Fliers handed out by the police at the private park on behalf of the park’s owner, Brookfield Properties, and the city, spelled out the same message.

A number of other arrests were reported just outside the park, as police tried to move supporters of the protesters away from the park. Details were not immediately available. There were several additional arrests after the park was cleared when protesters who refused to leave a nearby street were taken into custody.

The police move came as organizers put out word on their Web site that they planned to “shut down Wall Street” with a demonstration on Thursday to commemorate the completion of two months of encampment, which has prompted similar demonstrations across the country.

The move also came hours after a small demonstration at City Hall on Monday by opponents of the protest, including local residents and merchants, some of whom urged the mayor to clear out the park.

Before the police moved in, they set up a battery of klieg lights and aimed them into the park. A police captain, wearing a helmet, walked down Liberty Street and announced: “The city has determined that the continued occupation of Zuccotti Park poses an increasing health and fire safety hazard.”

The captain ordered the protesters to “to immediately remove all private property” and said that if they interfered with the police operation, they would be arrested. Property that was not removed would be taken to a sanitation garage, the police said.

Some of the protesters grabbed their possessions. “They’re not getting our tents down,” one man shouted. People milled around, and some headed to the edges of the park.

By 1:45 a.m., dozens of officers moved through the park, some bearing plastic shields and wearing helmets. They removed tents and bedding materials, putting them on the sidewalk. Some protesters could be seen leaving the park with their belongings, but a core group of more than 100 hunkered down at the encampment’s kitchen area, linking arms, waving flags, and singing and chanting their refusal to leave the park.

They sang “We Shall Overcome” and chanted at the officers to “disobey your orders.”

“If they come in, we’re not going anywhere,” said Chris Johnson, 32, who sat with other remaining protesters near the food area. He said that the protest “has opened up a dialogue that hasn’t existed since I’ve been alive.”

About 2 a.m., police officers began using a vehicle equipped with a powerful speaker to issue their orders. City sanitation workers tossed protesters’ belongings into metal bins, while some protesters dug in at the center of the park by using heavy bicycle chains to bind themselves to park trees and to each other. Some donned gas masks and goggles.

But by 3 a.m., the police closed in on the remaining protesters and began arresting them.

About 200 supporters of the protesters arrived early Tuesday after hearing that the park was being cleared. They were prevented from getting within a block of the park by a police barricade. There were a number of arrests after some scuffles between the two sides, but no details were immediately available. After being forced up Broadway by the police, some of the supporters decided to march several blocks to Foley Square.

Several Occupy Wall Street protest encampments across the country have been cleared by police after problems have occurred, including ones in cities like Oakland, Salt Lake City and Portland, Ore.

A handful of protesters first unrolled sleeping bags and blankets in Zuccotti Park on the night of Sept. 17, but in the weeks that followed, the park became densely packed with tents and small tarp villages.

The protest spawned others and attracted celebrities and well-known performers. It became a tourist attraction, inspired more than $500,000 in donations and gained the support of labor unions and elected officials while creating division within City Hall and the Police Department.

Mr. Bloomberg had struggled with how to respond. He repeatedly made clear that he does not support the demonstrators’ arguments or their tactics, but he has also defended their right to protest and in recent days and weeks has sounded increasingly exasperated, especially in the wake of growing complaints from neighbors about how the protest has disrupted the neighborhood and hurt local businesses.

Mr. Bloomberg met daily with several deputies and commissioners, and as more business owners complained and editorials lampooned him as gutless, his patience wore thin.

Joseph Goldstein, Matt Flegenheimer, Rob Harris, Steve Kenny, Corey Kilgannon and Sarah Maslin Nir contributed reporting.

Published on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 by the Guardian/UK

Ehrenreich: Democratic Establishment Abandoned Occupy Wall Street

Author says she is 'disgusted' that Obama and other Democrats did not act to stop Zuccotti Park evictions

by Suzanne Goldenberg

Author Barbara Ehrenreich accused Barack Obama and the Democratic establishment of betraying the Occupy movement on Tuesday by failing to stop the evictions from Zuccotti Park.

Ehrenreich, who has championed the struggles of working class Americans in books such as Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America said her outrage at the police crackdowns was magnified by the acquiescence of Democratic leaders.

"One of the appalling things here is that there are so many Democratic mayors involved in these crackdowns or in Bloomberg's case, someone who is seen as a liberal," Ehrenreich said in a telephone interview. "And where in all this was Obama? Why couldn't he have picked up the phone at some point a couple of weeks ago and called the mayors of Portland and Oakland and said: 'go easy on these people. They represent the anger and aspirations of the majority'. Would that have been so difficult?"

She said Obama had been practically silent since the protesters first descended on New York two months ago. "There have been a few little muffled comments but he has practically disappeared."

For Ehrenreich, who has written in support of the protesters, the Occupy movement was an inflection point in American politics.

It was a repudiation of bureaucratic politics - even as pursued by those on the left, she said, and it was embraced across the country.

She said she had been astounded to learn that some 1,600 cities were under occupation at one point this autumn from the metropolis of New York to Ehrenreich's home town of Butte, Montana.

For years, she said, she had maintained the importance of going out to vote. Now, she suggested she was becoming sympathetic to the argument of some of the protesters that the political system was so corrupted that elections were irrelevant.

"I am a responsible citizen. I always tend to drag myself out to vote but I am having trouble making arguments for that. I find myself having a lot of trouble," she said. "We do not seem to be heard or represented."

She added: "I just feel so disgusted at this point."

For all her anger, though, Ehrenreich said she remained confident that the evictions were not the last for the movement.

As the weather started to turn, she had grown nervous, she said, about the living conditions of those camping out on the streets. Would they be risking exposure? Would it be like watching hunger strikers starve to death?

But over the last several weeks, she said she had watched the protesters in New York and Los Angeles abandon their fixed positions and move out on a series of spontaneous actions, setting up union picket lines or as flash mobs.

That, Ehrenreich said, could be the future for the Occupy protests, as the demonstrators are moved on from city centers. They might find a home on university campuses, or they might just keep moving.

"I think the spirit is there. It's defiant. It's contagious," she said. "They are beginning to think of themselves as flying squadrons - flying squadrons for justice."

© 2011 Guardian/UK


Update: 'Occupy' crackdowns coordinated with federal law enforcement officials

By Rick Ellis, Minneapolis Top News Examiner

Over the past ten days, more than a dozen cities have moved to evict "Occupy" protesters from city parks and other public spaces. As was the case in last night's move in New York City, each of the police actions shares a number of characteristics. And according to one Justice official, each of those actions was coordinated with help from Homeland Security, the FBI and other federal police agencies.

The official, who spoke on background to me late Monday evening, said that while local police agencies had received tactical and planning advice from national agencies, the ultimate decision on how each jurisdiction handles the Occupy protests ultimately rests with local law enforcement.

According to this official, in several recent conference calls and briefings, local police agencies were advised to seek a legal reason to evict residents of tent cities, focusing on zoning laws and existing curfew rules. Agencies were also advised to demonstrate a massive show of police force, including large numbers in riot gear. In particular, the FBI reportedly advised on press relations, with one presentation suggesting that any moves to evict protesters be coordinated for a time when the press was the least likely to be present.

The FBI has so far failed to respond to requests for an official response, and of the 14 local police agencies contacted in the past 24 hours, all have declined to respond to questions on this issue.

But in a recent interview with the BBC," Oakland Mayor Jean Quan mentioned she was on a conference call just before the recent wave of crackdowns began.

"I was recently on a conference call of 18 cities who had the same situation, where what had started as a political movement and a political encampment ended up being an encampment that was no longer in control of the people who started them."

At the time this story was updated, Mayor Quan's office had declined to discuss her comments.

This story will continue to be updated throughout the day....

Continue reading on Examiner.com Update: 'Occupy' crackdowns coordinated with federal law enforcement officials - Minneapolis Top News | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/top-news-in-minneapolis/were-occupy-crackdowns-…

(UPDATED) Were this week's Occupy movement crackdowns a coordinated effort?
15 November 2011 01:20

Officers surround the Occupy Oakland camp on Monday.
Were this week's nationwide crackdowns against Occupy protests a concerted national effort? That's what an offhand remark by Oakland mayor Jean Quan has many people believing.

In an interview with the BBC early Tuesday morning, Quan seemed to hint at a deliberate nationwide effort to eradicate on the urban camps that have marked the Occupy movement. "I was recently on a conference call with 18 cities across the country who had the same situation," Quan said, "where what had started as political [movements] and political [encampments were] no longer in control of the people who started them."

The remark has led to speculation in the liberal blogosphere that this week's police raids on Occupy encampments across the country were part of a government plan to shut down the movement. (The blog FireDogLake suggested the crackdowns were scheduled to coincide with President Obama's trip to the Pacific Rim.)

The timing of the raids would seem to not be mere coincidence. Since Friday, nine Occupy protests have been the targets of organized police action:

St. Louis, MO: Police evicted protesters from their encampment near the Gateway Arch Friday night -- 27 people who refused to abandon the camp were arrested. Mayor Francis Slay is in discussions with the movement to find another home for the protesters.

Burlington, VT: Protesters camped outside Burlington's City Hall left over the weekend, at the urging of city officials.

Denver, CO: Police raided an Occupy Denver camp on Saturday and removed tents, mattresses and a grill from a sidewalk. 17 protesters were arrested.

Salt Lake City, UT: Authorities shut down Occupy Salt Lake City's camp in Pioneer Park Saturday night. 18 protesters were arrested in a largely nonviolent confrontation.

Portland, OR: Protesters and police clashed violently on Sunday as authorities cleared protesters from city parks they had been occupying. More than 50 people were arrested, and one protester was hospitalized. According to Occupy Portland, he remains in a wheelchair with a broken back.

Chapel Hill, NC: On Sunday, police armed with semi-automatic rifles evicted protesters who had been squatting in an abandoned car dealership. The protesters were loosely affiliated with the Occupy Chapel Hill movement, but did not represent the official camp. Seven people were arrested.

Oakland, CA: Police in riot gear raided an Occupy Oakland camp in Frank H. Ogawa Plaza Monday morning, clearing it of tents and tarps and arresting 33 protesters. The move came under criticism for the use of tear gas against protesters.

New York, NY: Police moved in on Occupy Wall Street's camp Zuccotti Park early Tuesday morning, clearing it of protesters, tarps and tents. Nearly 200 people were arrested, including at least five journalists.

For his part, New York Mayor Michael Bloomerg seemed to deny speculation that this morning's raid on Occupy Wall Street was part of a larger effort.

"The final decision to act was mine, and mine alone," he said at a press conference.

UPDATE: Rick Ellis at Examiner.com spoke with a Justice official who said each 'eviction' was "coordinated with the help from Homeland Security, the FBI and other federal police agencies."

Ellis spoke with the official on background Monday night who said local police agencies received planning advice from national agencies. Ultimately, though, the decision on how to handle the protests was in the hands of local law.

Part of the advice given to local police was to seek legal reasons to evict the Occupy protesters, mainly focusing on zoning laws.

Submitted by Socialist Party USA (not verified) on Sat, 11/19/2011 - 14:20


By NYC Local of the Socialist Party-USA

November 15, 2011 - The Socialist Party USA condemns the police action taken against the months long occupation of Zuccotti Park in New York City. Under the cover of dark, the NYPD cowardly entered the park and forced hundreds of protesters out. The power of our Occupation is demonstrated by the fact that the police had to shut down all subway and car traffic to the Park because they feared solidarity demonstrations. In the end, about 70 demonstrators refused the police orders despite the overwhelming force and were arrested.

We strongly condemn the NYPD, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and all other parts of the political establishment and law enforcement who were involved in this raid. We demand the immediate release of those arrested for non-violently occupying Zuccotti. We demand the immediate restoration of civil liberties – especially the right to free speech and free association – in Downtown Manhattan.

The police raid is a clear attempt to disable plans for a massive march on November 17th. The March against the richest 1% and Wall Street is being coordinated by community, trade union and occupation groups and will fill Downtown Manhattan with tens of thousands of poor and working class people who have been dispossessed by the capitalist system. Temporarily removing the Occupation will do nothing to stop this mass outpouring of dissent. We will march and we will demonstrate that we have the power to transform this society no matter what level of police repression.

The Occupation movement is larger than one small park in Downtown Manhattan. It exists everywhere there are people that resist this system. This morning’s raid is a sign of the system’s weakness not its strength. It signals that the use of force is the only way to deal with dissent – the only way to temporarily quiet an Occupation, which announced boldly that the system was broken and that another world is possible.

Poor and working class people, people without jobs, without homes, without healthcare have finally woken up. We demand the one thing that capitalism cannot deliver – a future, a life-a peaceful, productive life- where we are able to develop ourselves to our fullest human potential. This is a core belief of the Occupation movement and we share it.

As Socialists, we are permanent resisters. We stand in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street. We will continue to spread the powerful message of OWS that we are the 99% and that we are no longer willing to quietly accept the economic inequality, the war and the environmental destruction that the capitalist system is based upon. Occupy Everything!

Submitted by Terry Townsend on Sun, 11/20/2011 - 15:50



Lee Sustar, Danny Lucia and Alan Maass report on the Occupy day of action.

THE CHANT "We are the 99 percent" echoed through the streets of New York and dozens of other cities around the country during a national day of action November 17 that marked the two-month anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street protest movement.

Some 35,000 people filled lower Manhattan's Foley Square in the early evening hours, and thousands more spilled onto the surrounding streets as the culmination of a day of action that began with civil disobedience aimed at disrupting the opening of the New York Stock Exchange.

The day showed the potential of the Occupy movement to gather new supporters, as hundreds gathered at transit hubs in New York City's outer boroughs, conducting a people's microphone on subway cars on their way to the convergence at Foley Square.

"I'm here because both my parents have to work at age 64," said Norma Gatica on the subway ride to Foley Square on the Occupy Queens contingent. "I'm deep in debt and can't find a job, because there are none."

Meanwhile, some 5,000 students gathered in Union Square for an unpermitted march to the main rally, evading police attempts to corral them.

Among the students at Foley Square was a doctoral student at New York University who had brought her 2-year-old to the demonstration because she couldn't afford child care. "Let me be clear: NYU is union-busting," she said of the university, which has taken a hard line against graduate employee attempts to unionize. "NYU is not for students. NYU is not for education. NYU is for profit."

As Foley Square filled for the 5 p.m. convergence, a light show projected the words "We are the 99 percent," and "Another world is possible, we are unstoppable" onto the Verizon headquarters building, as thousands took up the chants. A series of speakers gave moving accounts of their personal plight--of unemployment, debt and impoverishment--that resonated with the demonstrators.

The huge, multiracial and working-class crowd--including many thousands of union members--reaffirmed the broad popularity of the Occupy movement in the wake of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's police crackdown on the Occupy encampment. While politicians in Washington are negotiating a deal to slash Medicare and other social programs, Occupy's message of stopping the cuts and taxing the rich has captured the imagination of working people across the U.S.

The Foley Square protesters had a special message for the billionaire, who ordered the NYPD's early morning raid on Zuccotti Park November 15: "Bloomberg, beware, Zuccotti Park is everywhere!"

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

BUT THE protest also highlighted new political challenges to the movement--in particular, how to deal with increasingly aggressive police. Less than three days after the cops' military-style sweep of Zuccotti Park, police took every opportunity to intimidate protesters. At a protest at the New York City Department of Education, police shoved barricades into a relatively small crowd, even after the parents and teachers chanted, "There are children here!"

Later, at Foley Square, police aggressively penned in the crowd with barricades in order to prevent thousands from joining the main demonstration. The cops were violent toward anyone who even hesitated to comply with their orders--beating one man with professional-grade photography equipment.

Given police attempts to limit and bully the protests, many Occupy Wall Street activists were angry at the way the protest marshals--most of them from the 1199 Service Employees International Union (SEIU)--worked with the police.

When police severely restricted the numbers of people who could leave Foley Square at any one time in order to participate in a march over the Brooklyn Bridge, the marshals physically prevented protesters from walking in the road, funneling the crowd into a pedestrian walkway instead. The march took place after a protest on the bridge led to the arrest of about 100 protesters, including SEIU President Mary Kay Henry.

"With the numbers they had there, we could have gone back to Zuccotti Park or could have taken the streets," said one activist. "There was a good section of the crowd, if not the whole crowd, who wanted to go. In that sense, it was a missed opportunity."

Occupy activists who participated in planning for the Foley Square rally were also upset that the agreed-upon plan for several decentralized speakouts was scrapped. Instead, a single sound stage was set up, apparently controlled by the SEIU, thereby limiting the number of people who could speak.

The move raised questions among Occupy Wall Street activists who have helped develop what has been a powerful and productive alliance between the movement and organized labor.

One issue will be the movement's attitude to the 2012 elections. The day before the November 17 protests--which were mostly driven by the SEIU across the U.S.--the union announced its endorsement of President Barack Obama for re-election. Many of the core Occupy activists, by contrast, joined the movement because it targeted the corporate dominance of both political parties.

The issue will come to the fore soon, as SEIU calls for a tent city encampment on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. to advocate for Obama's jobs legislation. This signals an effort by the SEIU to shift the focus of the movement away from Wall Street and corporate power--and toward the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, to the benefit of Democrats, who control the White House and the Senate.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

WHILE NEW York's November 17 protests were the biggest, there were demonstrations in dozens of cities from Coast to Coast.

In Los Angeles, Occupy activists marched to a Bank of America branch and then set up tents in the middle of Figueroa Street--the crowd swelled to more than 1,000 at its high point.

In other cities like Seattle, demonstrators followed New York's lead by targeting major bridges. This was a symbol suggested by unions to draw attention to the demand that the government launch a jobs program aimed at fixing infrastructure around the country. The focus of the Chicago protest was similar, with a handful of union activists getting arrested for blocking a bridge over the Chicago River during a three-hour protest that drew more than 2,000 Occupy activists and union members.

(NOTE: SocialistWorker.org will be rounding up reports from other day of action demonstrations around the country in an article next week.)

The sheer size and number of protests highlight how far the movement has come since it began only two months ago. Occupy Wall Street began with just 500 demonstrators rallying and marching in Manhattan's financial district. That demonstration ended with the movement settling down in little-known Zuccotti Park, a bland corporate-owned plaza a block away from the World Trade Center site.

Within weeks, Zuccotti Park--renamed Liberty Plaza by the movement--became the heart of a mass protest movement unlike any the U.S. has seen in generations.

Many thousands of people were drawn to Liberty Plaza by the excitement of coming together with so many others expressing the widespread bitterness at a society run by the 1 percent in the interests of profits and power. Many more people who never got to Zuccotti Park took inspiration from the Occupy struggle, and hope that we can stand up and demand change.

The scale of the political and police assault on the movement is an indication of how seriously it is taken by America's ruling elite.

Police crackdowns against Occupy encampments and protests have been escalating for weeks. That culminated in New York in the early-morning hours of November 15, when the NYPD attacked Zuccotti Park--with hundreds of cops in riot gear sealing off the area, arresting anyone who remained behind and trashing the camp's tents, equipment and library.

But if Bloomberg and New York City's 1 percent thought they had conquered the Occupy movement, the November 17 day of action proved that this struggle is here to stay, whether the encampment in Zuccotti Park is reestablished or not.

One indication of the determination to continue the fight was the morning protest that clogged the narrow streets around the New York Stock Exchange. Occupy supporters confronted the bankers and speculators as they scrambled into the building.

The familiar chant, "We are the 99 percent" was followed by another, with the same cadence: "We are the source of all your wealth."

At the corner of William and Exchange Streets, there was an inspiring speakout. Using the people's microphone, protesters shared the stories that had brought them to the movement--from a worker fired by the insurance giant AIG, to an adjunct professor at City University of New York making $12,000 a year, to a homeless trans youth, to a Chilean immigrant who led the crowd in a chant of "Allende vive!" in honor of the country's Socialist Party president killed in a U.S.-backed coup in 1973.

The NYPD used its typical brutality against those committing civil disobedience. The mainstream media captured images of a woman being dragged across a sidewalk by an officer and that of another man who was taken out of Zuccotti Park with blood streaming down his face after police arrested him, allegedly for knocking an officer's hat off his head.

But this latest round of police violence and intimidation hasn't silenced the movement. As activists debate how to cope with the outlawing of encampments, organizing will continue on a number of fronts--from solidarity efforts to support transit workers facing contract deadlines in Chicago and New York, to challenging school closings, to occupying foreclosed homes and more.

The November 17 protests emphasized the point made on the Occupy Wall Street website as the Zuccotti raid shut down the encampment: You can't evict an idea whose time has come.

Jen Roesch, Doug Singsen and Sherry Wolf contributed to this article.

Submitted by Karina (not verified) on Sun, 03/11/2012 - 20:42


It's been 6 months since the occupy Wall Street demonstration and what's left? Nothing! Back then (when this blog article was written) it seemed like a beginning of a Revolution here in Manhattan and it seemed that England, Germany, France, etc. got effected by the demonstration. I ask again, what's left? Nothing!

You can go where ever you want in NYC you won't find any demonstrations nor people camping. It started like a big flame but died very quickly. Occupy Wall Street probably even won't be remembered at all in the future. Let's see what the next movement is gonna be.