Hundreds of people protesting Wall Street abuses were penned in and arrested by police Saturday, two weeks into an ongoing demonstration that has become known on Twitter as #OccupyWallStreet.
Centered at Zuccotti Park since September 17, the gathering that began as a call to arms from anti-consumerist magazine AdBusters has shown no sign of a slowdown. And protesters said Saturday's arrests only renewed their resolve, The Huffington Post reports.
Debate continues over how much of a role the New York Police Department played in steering protesters onto the roadway of the Brooklyn Bridge, with some Occupy Wall Street organizers maintaining the police deliberately corralled the group. The NYPD released its own video showing police warning protesters they would be arrested if they blocked the roadway of the bridge.
Similar protests are now sprouting across the country in cities including Chicago, Pittsburgh and and Los Angeles, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The movement aims to "express a feeling of mass injustice," according to the group’s declaration for the occupation of New York City released Friday. The injustices include the foreclosure crisis, work place discrimination and student loan debt, among a list of others.
As HuffPost reported recently, the movement is less about specific policy demands and more about an expression of opposition to ever yawning economic inequality driven by Wall Street and its allies in Washington.
Calling themselves an American revolution, the protesters say they plan to stay in the park indefinitely.
Greg Basta, an official with New York Communities for Change, said that the organizers were encouraged by police on Saturday to march on the street area of the Brooklyn Bridge, instead of the walkway, then subsequently arrested them for marching in traffic. Two lead organizers, Jonathan Westin and Pete Nagy, were penned in by police. Westin managed to exit the police pen, but Nagy is missing and presumed detained by police, Basta told HuffPost.
"Police say some demonstrators spilled onto the roadway Saturday night after being told to stay on the pedestrian pathway," the Associated Press reported.
Similar demonstrations started Saturday in Washington and Los Angeles.
Shon Botado, a protester staffing a first aid station in New York, told The Huffington Post on Friday that he’s not leaving “until change is made to the financial structure.”
Got a tip? Tweet at @maxwellstrachan or email maxwell at huffingtonpost dot com.
03/20/2012 6:12 PM EDT
Trouble At Occupied Apartment Building Splits Occupy Miami
Via HuffPost Miami:
When an Occupy Miami member offered evicted protestors vacant apartments in a building he owns in Downtown Miami's Overtown neighborhood, it seemed like the perfect solution: the 'Peace City' space would provide headquarters for the movement and shelter a small faction of the group's most vulnerable members. But it hasn't gone well. Other tenants say the building has become a cesspool of drug use and violence while non-resident Occupy Miami members are trying to distance themselves from the 'radicals' -- all while the two factions are wrestling for control over Occupy Miami's social media sites and future plans.
The feud between the Overtown occupiers and more mainstream members has only gotten worse. The two factions are now battling for control of Occupy Miami's social media sites. The movement's main Twitter account recently announced it had been "hijacked by a small, non-consensus group of radical members." The Occupy Miami Facebook page was also temporarily hacked by someone inside Peace City. Meanwhile, the Overtown occupation is slowly driving away more moderate members.
"This is a black eye on the Occupy movement," says Shannon Reaze, an Overtown community organizer and Occupy Miami supporter who is now helping tenants move out of Paz's building. "The violence and drugs going on here are way outside of what I thought Occupy stood for. This place is destabilized."
...The supposedly hard-core activists here spend their days drinking and getting high. And as Peace City devolves into lawlessness, the most committed occupiers are leaving. Local landowners and politicians want the place shut down, while cops are suspicious. Yet as long as Paz wants the protesters around, nothing short of a demolition order can keep them out.
03/19/2012 6:32 PM EDT
Occupy DC Protesters Sue MPD
Via HuffPost DC:
WASHINGTON -- Occupy DC has a new lawsuit involving tents on its hands. But it doesn't involve temporary structures in McPherson Square.
Two protesters arrested during a February action outside Merrill Lynch's offices on 15th Street NW near McPherson Square have filed suit against the Metropolitan Police Department, Legal Times reports. (Read the complaint here.)
The plaintiffs, Samuel Dukore and Kelly Canavan, were part of a "targeted occupation" of Merrill Lynch on Feb. 13 where protesters were raising awareness about Merrill Lynch's reportedly close ties with Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.). Issa, for his part, claims that the reports of these close ties are "wildly inaccurate."
Full story here.
03/19/2012 12:20 PM EDT
Occupy Wall Street Attempts To Occupy Union Square
OWS reports via its website:
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.
According to reports on the ground, several dozen people slept in the park after the illegal and violent raid on Liberty Square. Over 70 people remain, now on Day 3. Although tents and tables are still banned, Occupiers have brought blankets and sleeping gear. Many are calling it ¨the new Occupation.¨ In addition to holding General Assemblies, Union Square Occupiers are providing vital jail support for those arrested on #M17 as they are released from NYPD custody. So far, the NYPD has made no attempt to remove Occupiers or prevent them from sleeping in the park.
03/18/2012 10:35 AM EDT
Watch: Another Video Documenting Woman's Arrest
03/18/2012 10:34 AM EDT
NY Observer ID's Victim
The woman had the apparent seizure has been identified by the New York Observer as Cecily McMillan:
Cecily McMillan, an Occupy Wall Street activist once profiled in Rolling Stone, suffered a seizure Saturday night during protest action near Zuccotti Park. Many on-scene reported Ms. McMillan had trouble breathing after she was tackled and handcuffed by law enforcement.
A video uploaded to Youtube late Saturday night purports to show the attack. Two women can be heard commenting, “There’s Cecily,” then there is confusion as the police clearly perform a violent take-down on someone in the crowd.
According to Jeff Sharlet’s November, 2011 article about the Occupy Movement, this may be Ms. McMillan’s second violent encounter with police.
To read the full story, go here.
03/18/2012 10:33 AM EDT
Watch: Woman Who Had Apparent Seizure Brutalized By Police
Cops caught on video about 10 seconds in taking down the woman who had the apparent seizure:
03/18/2012 10:32 AM EDT
'Stop Pushing Us!'
Watch video from inside Zuccotti Park as police moved in late last night:
- Show quoted text -
03/18/2012 10:31 AM EDT
New York Times Reports Alleged Police Abuse
The paper reports from last night's chaos at Zuccotti Park:
At one point, a woman who appeared to be suffering from seizures flopped on the ground in handcuffs as bystanders shouted for the police to remove the cuffs and provide medical attention. For several minutes the woman lay on the ground as onlookers made increasingly agonized demands until an ambulance arrived and the woman was placed inside.
By 12:20 a.m., a line of officers pushed against some of the remaining protesters, forcing them south on Broadway, at times swinging batons and shoving people to the ground.
Kobi Skolnick, 30, said that officers pushed him in several directions and that as he tried to walk away, he was struck from behind in the neck. “One of the police ran and hit me with a baton,” he said.
To read the full story, go here.
03/18/2012 10:30 AM EDT
Watch: Woman Goes Into Seizure In Police Custody
Do you have pics, video, or a first person account from the #OccupyWallStreet protests you'd like to see published on Huffington Post? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. To sign up for Huffington Post's ongoing Citizen Journalism project to cover the 2012 election, www.offthebus.org.
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