Police Crackdown, Arrests at Occupy's Six-Month Anniversary

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Common Dreams

Police Crackdown, Arrests at Occupy's Six-Month Anniversary

"People think the Occupy movement has gone away. It's important for people to see we're back."

by
Common Dreams staff

Still from Police Brutality by Zuccotti Park March 17 #OWS video below

The Occupy movement gathered in Liberty Plaza (Zuccotti Park) in New York yesterday to mark six months since the movement began. Police responded to the peaceful gathering with arrests and beatings.

"This is our spring offensive. People think the Occupy movement has gone away. It's important for people to see we're back," Michael Premo told MSNBC.

Videos uploaded by Occupiers have accounts of people receiving aggressive treatment by the police. One man, who was clearly identified as a member of the press, was told by the police that he was resisting arrest, though he had already been knocked to the ground. Another witness describes being hit with batons by the police even when he had moved a block away from the park.

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MSNBC: They're back: Dozens of Occupy Wall Street protesters arrested at 6-month mark

NEW YORK -- Police arrested dozens of Occupy Wall Street protesters on Saturday night during a protest marking the movement's six-month mark at its birthplace in New York's Zuccotti Park.

More than 100 officers pushed through the park crowd. Many protesters shouted and officers took out their batons after a demonstrator threw a glass bottle at a bus that police were using to detain more than a dozen protesters.

At least two people were loaded into ambulances.

The sweep just before midnight capped a day of demonstrations and marching in lower Manhattan. There was no official word on the number of arrests but dozens of people were handcuffed and led out of the park.

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Nathan Schneider on Waging Nonviolence: OWS celebrates six months by reliving the fall

Occupy Wall Street celebrated its six-month anniversary yesterday in Zuccotti Park with a fast-forward replay of last fall: re-occupation, carnival, violent eviction, defiance. A morning chalk-in for families and an early afternoon march around the Financial District (actually, two: one silent and one rowdy) began a day of reunion at the movement’s New York home. As re-renamed Liberty Plaza (or Square or Park) became full once again with hundreds of people, the hardy organizers who’ve spent the winter in meetings and arguments were drowned out by joiners, curious visitors, drummers and reporters. A 24-hour re-occupation was called, and new nonviolent defensive formations were rehearsed en masse. They danced, chanted and held a General Assembly. Numbers swelled to close to a thousand when marches from the nearby Left Forum conference joined later in the evening. The whole day was a welcome reminder that in occupation a magic dwells.

Around 10 p.m., tents and tarps went up in the park, among them several tents held high in the air above the crowd. Defenses went up too, including yellow police tape marked “Occupy” and a similarly rebranded roll of orange netting—just like what police have used to surround and trap OWS marches before.

But, around 10:30, more than a hundred police and Brookfield Properties private security poured into the park. They seemed intent on clearing people while minimizing arrest numbers, though dozens of Occupiers were beaten and arrested for holding their ground, and were taken away in police wagons and a repurposed city bus. Not until almost 45 minutes later did two ambulances arrive for the injured, including a woman who appeared to be suffering a seizure. At least two glass bottles were thrown and shattered near police.

Some Occupiers remained, but others set out on a march to Union Square, throwing bags full of trash into the street and chanting against the police and the state, with a few arrested in skirmishes along the way. The rest arrived at Union Square, holding up a yellow “Occupy Wall Street” banner on the square’s main steps, facing a line of several dozen police officers standing shoulder-to-shoulder. The crowd began to dissipate as the early morning wore on.

Familiar feelings, all over again: courage, awe, exuberance, rage, sadness, pain, fatigue. The city succeeded once again if its purpose was to keep the protesters’ attention on the police, rather than, for instance, on the financial institutions for which it continually assures support. The Occupiers succeeded if their purpose was to celebrate, reenact and make a blip in the media. What good either success does the world outside Lower Manhattan still remains to be seen, this spring and beyond.

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Police Brutality by Zuccotti Park March 17 #OWS

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Video of NYPD Shutting Down Occupy Wall Street #M17: Part 2

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'Occupy' protesters return to New York's Zuccotti Park

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