The NYPD has reportedly thrown out 5,554 books from the Occupy Wall Street Library during the raid to evict protesters from Zuccotti Park early Tuesday morning. (UPDATES BELOW). GalleyCat compiled the @OWSLibrary tweets:
The Occupy Wall Street librarians tweeted the eviction all night: "NYPD destroying american cultural history, they're destroying the documents, the books, the artwork of an event in our nation’s history... Right now, the NYPD are throwing over 5,000 books from our library into a dumpster. Will they burn them?...Call 311 or 212-639-9675 now and ask why Mayor Bloomberg is throwing the 5,554 books from our library into a dumpster."
The first book in the library's catalog, "T.A.Z.: The Temporary Autonomous Zone, Ontological Anarchy, Poetic Terrorism" is safe, according to @OWSLibrary, as is an "Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology," saved at the last minute by a man named Stephen Boyer, one of the Library workers. The rest of the books, including "Fahrenheit 451" by Ray Bradbury, "1984" by George Orwell and "A Tale Of Two Cities" by Charles Dickens, were reportedly thrown away. (Go here for a full list of the library's books.)
Boyer describes the eviction:
I ran into the library and let the handful of people sleeping in there know what was happening, then unlocked and pulled the OWS POETRY ANTHOLOGY from the shelves and strapped them to my body, then climbed atop a table in the park and read poems from the anthology. Immediately, the people of Liberty Plaza launched into action, a group of about a hundred protesters took to the kitchen and U-Locked/tied themselves down. After reading the third poem, the cops began to enter the park and I realized that I would most likely lose all of my possessions so I quickly grabbed a bag of my personal stuff, ran into the library and dumped a bunch of boxes of books onto the floor to make the cleaning up more difficult for the cops then ran my personal stuff and a few amazing books to a friends house around the corner.
According to Boyer, the NYPD told protesters at the beginning of the raid that their possessions would be put into storage and could later be claimed. We've reached out to the NYPD for comment and will update when we get a response. UPDATE: An official in Mayor Bloomberg's office tells The Huffington Post that the protesters' possessions were put into sanitation trucks and will be available for pickup at a yet-to-be announced location. It's possible that what @OWSLibrary described as a 'dumpster' could have actually been sanitation trucks.
UPDATE II: The Twitter feed of the Mayor's office took a picture of the books and said that they are "safely stored @ 57th St Sanit Garage; can be picked up Weds."
Meanwhile, a judge has handed down a temporary restraining order saying the city does not have the right to prevent protesters from having tents in Zuccotti Park. Protesters are holding copies of the court order up outside the park yet the NYPD is still refusing them entrance.
The eviction has also prompted a day of action Thursday. #ShutDownNYC will begin with an early morning rally in Liberty Plaza. They will then occupy the city's major transportation hubs before riding the trains to Foley Square for another rally. See the whole schedule of the day's events here.