The Common Good

Paramilitary attack on Occupy Wall Street: An Eye Witness Account

Protest sign at OWS in NYC today. Image via Facebook.
Protest sign at OWS in NYC today. Image via Facebook.

They came at 1 am.  

Several hundred police in full riot gear in a precision military operation.

They gathered at nearby assembly points out of sight of Zuccotti Park and then simultaneously came trotting out to surround the park like the army scene from The Blues Brothers movie.

Next they handed out fliers and announced by bullhorn that all personal property would be removed from the park, and that it could be reclaimed at a Department of Sanitation garage.

Instead, everything was thrown into garbage trucks and crushed by the compactor’s blades.

A few saved some of their belongings. Most did not.

A fellow member of the kitchen working group, sleeping completely undressed was given 45 seconds to dress and gather her belongings and, once she was dressed, was forced out without time to gather anything.  

She lost almost everything to the garbage compactor — all her money (several hundred dollars in cash), a laptop, a diamond ring, her wallet with all her ID and credit cards, etc.

All she was able to save was what happened to be in her daypack, which she was barely able to snatch up as she was being removed.

Most of the occupiers were steamrolled out of the park in this manner. Because there was no tent space when I got there I was sleeping on the sidewalk at night, and packing everything back up each morning, so I was able to save everything, but for several items I kept in the OWS kitchen.

A group of more than a hundred Occupiers retreated to the kitchen at the center of the park and chained themselves by their necks to a tree. They were tear-gassed where they sat and were removed by means we have not yet learned of, and we don’t yet know what injuries were sustained.

The attack was carried out on a massive scale. All but one of the usually 24/7 subway lines going into the whole area had been shut down to prevent supporters from reaching the site. Some cell phone carriers dropped service for almost 12 hours now and counting.

Prior to the attack, the police had completely sealed off the streets for six blocks in each direction. No cameras or news teams were permitted in. A reporter for the New York Times was arrested and removed from the scene.

By 3 am, Occupiers were assembling approximately 10 blocks away at Foley Square. By 8 am, several hundred Occupiers were marching on City Hall to protest Mayor Bloomberg's mis-information press conference, before going to the already acquired new site for Occupy Wall Street at 6th & Canal Streets.

Almost completely orchestrated media coverage is parroting the corporate party line, that the protesters were only being temporarily removed to clean the park, described as a filthy public health menace, and could return as early as noon today.

If there is any filthy public health menace around it is the one on Wall Street, which is an increasingly lethal menace to 99 percent of the country.

Full footage of the violent attack has yet to be aired.

What they don't announce is that if there actually is a return, no tents, sleeping bags, or other equipment (beyond the clothes on our backs) will be permitted.  

This is like evicting a family from its home but saying it can return in the beginning of winter, but with no heat, water, electricity, appliances, or furniture.

This kind of violent repression of wide-scale protest of our national economic hardship and corporate state has a long history in the United States.

The Occupiers believe this "return" to business is just a way of allowing the corporate media to spin this violent attack on a First Amendment peaceable protest assembly.

We just received word that the police are gassing, clubbing, and arresting occupiers at the new location, a space privately owned by Trinity Church (Episcopal).

An injunction hearing for Zuccotti Park was to begin at 11:30 am.

It is critical that we start understanding the central role that corporate media propaganda has played in carrying out the fraud and corruption and victimization of 99 percent of the population.  

There continue to be "Occupy Wall Street" actions taking place all around the world that we never hear about.

Working (a thoroughly enjoyable) 14 hours a day in the kitchen includes a constant flow of people from the immediate neighborhood, NYC metro area, and all over the country bringing donations of food, clothing, and money in amounts up to thousands of dollars.  

There is tremendous support and good will from all kind of places around the world. We have whole grade school classes bringing cookies they have baked for the Occupation.

This is the most widespread spontaneous international emergence of class-consciousness in history.  

Don't miss it.

Dave MacMillan is a member of Eighth Day community of the Church of the Saviour in Washington, D.C. He has been occupying Zuccotti Park in New York for the last several weeks.

Sojourners relies on the support of readers like you to sustain our message and ministry.

Related Stories

Resources

Like what you're reading? Get Sojourners E-Mail updates!

Sojourners Comment Community Covenant

I will express myself with civility, courtesy, and respect for every member of the Sojourners online community, especially toward those with whom I disagree, even if I feel disrespected by them. (Romans 12:17-21)

I will express my disagreements with other community members' ideas without insulting, mocking, or slandering them personally. (Matthew 5:22)

I will not exaggerate others' beliefs nor make unfounded prejudicial assumptions based on labels, categories, or stereotypes. I will always extend the benefit of the doubt. (Ephesians 4:29)

I will hold others accountable by clicking "report" on comments that violate these principles, based not on what ideas are expressed but on how they're expressed. (2 Thessalonians 3:13-15)

I understand that comments reported as abusive are reviewed by Sojourners staff and are subject to removal. Repeat offenders will be blocked from making further comments. (Proverbs 18:7)