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
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
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

Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - North West London, £35-40k

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Management Accountant (ACCA / CIMA, ...

Recruitment Genius: Female Care Team

£11 - £12 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A 10 year old girl who has profound an...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Manchester - Urgent Requirement!

£30000 - £35000 per annum + 20 days holidays & pension: Ashdown Group: Marketi...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Development Manager ...

Day In a Page

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore