How Occupy Wall Street Got Occupied: The Zuccotti Park Eviction and Recent Events

by Isabel Braverman

Last Tuesday the “home” of the Occupy movement, Zuccotti Park, was evicted under direct orders from NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg. He said the reason for the eviction was because the park posed health and safety violations.

He went on to add, in a press conference at City Hall seven hours after the raid, that “New York City is the city where you can come and express yourself. What was happening in Zuccotti Park was not that.”

Right. Because exercising your First Amendment rights and using peaceful protest, media and a general assembly is not “expressing yourself.”

The New York Times article mentions a few NYC residents who were happy to see the park evicted, including a dad pushing his son in his stroller who gave the police emptying the park a thumbs up.

But, from a few first hand accounts that I’ve read, it seems the police are not acting peacefully. Like in this story, which gives a wonderfully written report on the chaos that occurred during the eviction.

Reports like this are crucial, since journalists were blocked from covering the eviction, in a clear violation of First Amendment rights. This shows the power of citizen journalists.

Two days after the eviction was the OWS Day of Action as more than 30,000 people showed up to march on the Brooklyn Bridge and Foley Sqaure. An ironic photo captures former Police Captain Ray Lewis clad in full police uniform being arrested. He later went on Chris Haye’s show to talk about some of the concerns surrounding the Occupy movement and its relationship with the police (he is even against fracking and Fox News!). This video has a very interesting conversation on the matter with Hayes, Lewis and Laura Flanders.

They bring up the point that I have been thinking about—the Occupy movement is straying too far from its original message, the grievances of the 99%, and becoming too much about the protestors versus the police. It is an important point to bring up, but there needs to be a resurgence back to its roots.