Police clear Occupy Wall Street protest

 

New York

Hundreds of people were on the streets of Lower Manhattan after police moved in to demolish the two-month-old Occupy Wall Street protest camp, the heart of the “Occupy” movement that spread to dozens of cities around the world.

Officers in riot gear arrived without warning at 1am and demanded protestors leave Zuccotti Park with the tents, tarpaulins and other belongings that had threatened to become a permanent fixture through the winter.

Almost 200 people were arrested during the operation and in the subsequent hours, as displaced protestors assembled, marched or ran through the nearby streets. While some residents of the camp left of their own accord, several dozen chained themselves together and to trees and were forcibly removed. Several hundred more people, summoned by social networks, joined them in the streets throughout the night, but the New York Police Department blocked off access to the area, sometimes forming lines eight officers deep behind temporary barricades.

In less than three hours, the police had cleared the park completely, and steam cleaned the area.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the park had become unsanitary and dangerous, and it wasn’t fair to prevent others from using the park. The early-hours raid was planned to minimise the risk of confrontation, he said.

"The law that created Zuccotti Park required that it be open for the public to enjoy for passive recreation 24 hours a day," Mr Bloomberg said. "Ever since the occupation began, that law has not been complied with, as the park has been taken over by protesters, making it unavailable to anyone else."

The park would be reopened, he said, but police would enforce rules preventing camping there. People would have to “occupy the space with the power of their arguments”.

The Occupy Wall Street movement began with a march through Manhattan’s Financial District on 17 September, aimed at highlighting inequality and the effects of the weak economy, and at protesting the bailout of US banks during the 2008 financial panic. Modelling their protest on Egypt’s Tahrir Square, organisers planned to create a permanent camp in the area. Copycat occupations sprang up in cities across the US and elsewhere in the developed world, including in London where protestors camped near St Paul’s Cathedral were planning to march on the US embassy to protest the New York evictions.

In Manhattan, evicted Occupy Wall Street protestors struggled in the small hours of the morning to regroup. Gaggles of people, many on smartphones, could be found on most street corners in the area outside the police exclusion zone. Foley Square, home of the federal courts, quickly became a focal point for the displaced protestors and new supporters, and a plan emerged to converge mid-morning on union headquarters in the hope of attracting additional support from organised labour.

Related Articles:

Laurie Penny: I was almost arrested too – but Bloomberg's tactics can only galvanise protests

First they take back Manhattan. Is St Paul's protest next?

US Secret Service says bullet hit window at White House

 

 

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Cleaner

£15000 - £16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you've got first class custo...

Recruitment Genius: Mobile Applications Developer / Architect - iOS and Android

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to join a medium s...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Account Executive - £40K OTE

£11830 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working in a friendly, sales ta...

Recruitment Genius: Web Designer

£15000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test
Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy