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Occupy Wall Street 'Media Blackout': Journalists Arrested, Roughed Up, Blocked From Covering Clearing

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UPDATE: The Society Of Professional Journalists has condemned the arrests of reporters carried out by the New York Police Department during their raid of the Occupy Wall Street encampment.

In a statement on Tuesday, the group noted that at least six journalists had been arrested, and called "for all charges against these journalists to be dropped and for greater care by police to avoid arresting or otherwise obstructing journalists who are simply and clearly doing their jobs." It also stressed that "the journalists were either wearing press credentials or explained to police that they were reporters covering the protests," and argued, "they were clearly exercising the constitutional right of a free press...it is clear now that many journalists have been erroneously arrested without cause."

The New York Press club also condemned the Bloomberg administration for its apparent efforts to block journalists from witnessing the raid. The club criticized what it said "would seem to be a strategic decision to cloak potentially volatile police activity from the public."

ORIGINAL STORY: The surprise raid on the Occupy Wall Street encampment included an aggressive, sometimes violent approach to the journalists covering the event.

In the early hours of Tuesday morning, the NYPD moved into Zucotti Park and forcibly cleared it of the encampment that had been there for nearly two months. Naturally, journalists flocked to Lower Manhattan to witness what was going on. When they got there, though, most of them were barred from getting too close.

Reporter after reporter — many using the hashtag "#mediablackout" — tweeted through the night, saying that police had either blocked them from seeing what was happening or had acted violently towards them. Some correspondents were also among the scores of people arrested by police.

At his press conference about the raid on Tuesday morning, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said journalists were barred from covering the raid "to protect members of the press," and "to prevent a situation from getting worse."

Below, see a sample of the journalists' tweets from the scene.

Journalists at OWS
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