By Morgan Deal
“The mayor, the police have been itching to do this for weeks. We’re here to raise an outcry about economic conditions and not get into confrontations with police,” Bill Dobbs, a spokesperson for the Occupy protests, said. Early Tuesday morning, police and other city officials evicted Occupy Wall Street protesters fromZuccottiParkin lowerManhattan, the origin of the worldwide protest since mid-September. Demonstrators who had camped out with tents and tarps were evicted on the argument that they were posing dangers to public health, sanitation, and safeties, as well as concerns about the effects the protests were having on local businesses.
The procedure to remove protesters from the park began at around 1:00 a.m. and by 4:30 a.m. the park was empty. Police went around the park handing out notes from the park’s owner that said, “You are required to immediately remove all property, including tents, sleeping bags and tarps fromZuccottiPark. That means you must remove the property now.” However, things soon became violent and more than 100 people were arrested. “I’ve seen how agitated the police are and some are pushing and shoving to remove us,” Kanene holder, a spokeswoman for the Occupy protests, stated. Three people were treated for minor injuries, and a police officer was taken to the hospital after having heart palpitations. Some protesters left easily, but others put up a fight. They went to the center of the park, known as the “kitchen,” and built barriers of tables to keep police away. Others linked arms in rebellion chanting, “Whose park? Our park. You don’t have to do this.”
The park was reopened briefly at 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, but closed again after the news that protesters were allowed back in the park, tents and all. This court order was released by Judge Lucy Billings. The demonstrators were not happy about being kept out of the park, and called out to the police saying, “We have a court order. You don’t have authority over a judge.”
Videos from the park show security officers picking up a protester and pitching them over the fence, and at least two other protesters hopping a metal barricade. However, the court order allowing protesters in the park with their equipment was repealed, and now the protesters are gathering in other public places, such asFoley Square. While the demonstrators cannot bring tents, sleeping bags and other paraphernalia, they are now allowed back inZuccottiPark.