Occupy Wall Street Raid: What it Was Like at the Last Moments of the Zuccotti Occupation

OWS_Clearing Zuccotti_Muncy.jpg
C.S. Muncy
Authorities clearing Zuccotti Park.
The city cleared out Zuccotti Park in the wee hours of this morning, effectively ending the nearly two-month-old Occupy Wall Street occupation and destroying much of the occupiers' gear. The Voice arrived on the scene around 1:30 a.m. to a confusing scene, as cops had already barricaded every entrance to the park. We identified ourselves as press to no avail.

Although we couldn't get inside the park, we were able to reconstruct what happened inside during the period in which NYPD were moving into the park and clearing it. The park was held by 50-60 core occupiers who linked arms in a circle around the kitchen tent as a group of six-eight protesters remained inside the tents, locked together by the neck by "u-locks," according to occupier James Molenda, 32, who was inside the camp for nearly the entirety of the raid.

According to Molenda, it became evident to the campers that the city was planning a raid before midnight, when they saw a large number of cops heading toward the park.

"We got into action," he said. "We were blocking passageways and making sure non-arrestables could get out."

Some people left, and some stayed. The nucleus of the resistance was the kitchen tent, where 50-60 arrestables remained and waited for the police.

Police entered the park and told occupiers to leave or risk arrest. They began dismantling all of the camping equipment; according to Molenda, "there were tens of thousands of dollars worth of broken or totally wasted tents and sleeping bags and stuff." We've heard reports that the tents were ripped apart with box cutters to render them unusable.

"It was amazing," Molenda said. "They really treated every speck of anything like it was total garbage."

Occupiers waited for the axe to fall for about 45 minutes, as NYPD displayed sound cannons (but didn't deploy them) and made repeated announcements to leave the park.

After a point, the NYPD moved in and began forcibly removing people from the park, though not necessarily arresting all of them. DCPI told us they don't have an estimate for total numbers of arrests yet, but we've heard unconfirmed reports that the number is around 70. According to Molenda, the arrests were mostly peaceable and "no punches were thrown on either side." [Update 12:54 p.m.: The city puts the arrest count at around 200, Mayor Bloomberg said today.]

Eventually, all the occupiers apart from the core group locked together in the kitchen tent were removed or arrested; cops used pepper spray and also just dragged people out. The kitchen group were the last to be removed, but as of now, the park is completely clear.

The office of Mayor Bloomberg, who will be addressing the situation at 8 a.m., released a statement that reads in part:

Some have argued to allow the protestors to stay in the park indefinitely - others have suggested we just wait for winter and hope the cold weather drove the protestors away - but inaction was not an option. I could not wait for someone in the park to get killed or to injure another first responder before acting. Others have cautioned against action because enforcing our laws might be used by some protestors as a pretext for violence - but we must never be afraid to insist on compliance with our laws.

The situation outside of the park was less clear-cut. The Voice was repeatedly blocked from crossing the street and was at one point confined to a small area of Broadway above Dey Street, where police penned in a group of people and arrested some. We were able to break free of a cop and crossed the street. When we got to the other side, an officer grabbed us by the arm and threw us across the sidewalk. We had identified ourselves as press repeatedly.

A sizeable group of maybe a couple hundred headed north, having received signals from the Tactical group to go to Washington Square Park. The plan fell into disarray on the way there, as police successfully splintered the group into smaller crews. The march did not make it to Washington Square Park.

By around 5 a.m., the Zuccotti occupiers had made it to Foley Square, where they held a General Assembly and discussed other options (including an attempt to re-occupy Zuccotti Park this same day, though that is unlikely as of right now). At 9 a.m., there will be an action at Canal and Sixth Avenue; the Voice will be there and report back.

[rgray@villagevoice.com] [@_rosiegray]

Go to Runnin' Scared for more Voice news coverage.


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49 comments
capt america
capt america

They should round up all the protesters and send rhem to iraq, to serve there country since they dont appreciate it.

Mac
Mac

Glad to see its catching on...we nova scotians evicted the interlopers on nov 11.If they had a cause and went about it the right way...maybe! People don't forget your history just to the 1960's-70's.There is a right way and this way so there shouldn't be any surprise!

scallywag
scallywag

Mayor Bloomberg is insulting us all when he reduces what the protesters are doing down to an issue about a public park being open to play ball and walk dogs. This is about how 1% of society is bleeding the other 99% dry. Bloomberg’s personal fortune is nearly 20 billion dollars. Why should he care about you being able to pay the bills or having a job to go to? The powers that be want to characterise these protesters as scruffy anarchists hell bent on destroying capitalism. But this is far from what it is really about. It’s time we all get off our backsides and say enough is enough. Capitalism does not have to be about a society where 99% of people have to scrimp by, so that 1% can live super wealthy lifestyles.

http://scallywagandvagabond.co...

Jefferson D. Hogg
Jefferson D. Hogg

This is the UNITED STATES of AMERICA, These morons are protesting cause they cant find jobs? Meanwhile immigrants from other countries come here, learn the language, and become millionaires? If these lazy ass protesters put as much effort in to finding work than they did prosteting, they would make some money?

Jack Henderoff
Jack Henderoff

Its about time, i live nearby and could not take my kids to the park, Wheres my rights, These people should go looking for jobs and not handouts, a sad generation is in the making? I think the NYPD acted with proffessionalism and pride, God Bless NYPD. There is no excuse for breaking the law,.

Craigley
Craigley

The occupy movement is a giant farce. These folks are anti-society, not just anti-WS.

All their frustration centers around their inability to operate in a normal society.

Jenny G
Jenny G

It is very disturbing to see how much force is being put into silencing the various Occupy movements. Banding together is the most effective strategy for people who can't afford to buy multiple media outlets. At this point, not only are corporations treated as people, they're treated as people with more rights than individuals. These are scary times.

Ninetynine
Ninetynine

The title of this article is propagandist.  Last moments of Zuccotti occupation?  Says who?  The 99% will be back, again and again, with or without official blessings.  Dream on, Rosie, VV, Bloomberg, Wall St, Obama...

Parky Bill
Parky Bill

Wanna get Wall Street's attention?  Wanna speak to them in the only language they understand?  Want to really kick then in the nads? Rewtweet this hashtag on Twitter and spread the word. #stayhomeblackfriday

http://exm.nr/slyPNe

StanChaz
StanChaz

They came like thieves in the night...Bloomberg's Blue Shirts...and robbed us of our rights, and our possessions. all the while preventing reporters from reporting on the scene. Bloomberg, the self-proclaimed number one defender of free speech (pause for gagging), said in no uncertain terms: "yes, you have the right...the right to remain silent. So just shut up and obey". This is only the beginning dear Mayor .0001%. This WILL be your legacy- of repression. But you will NOT succeed. These mayors, governors, city councils, police chiefs, and street cops of America need to realize that it is NOT UP TO THEM whether or not Americans peaceably gather, protest, discuss, or demonstrate. It's up to a document called the US CONSTITUTION. You can beat us and arrest us and tear-gas us, you can try to "permit" us to death....but you can't kill an idea. You can't keep down a people’s hopes and dreams for a better life....for us, and for our kids. America USED to work. The people had work. The system worke (sort of). Hey, EVEN the Congress used to work (sometimes). God knows, it was far, far, far from perfect -but at least we all had some share in the struggles AND the rewards. But somewhere along the way, we lost our way. Because now we have an economy and a political system that seems to work only for the rich. With OWS America has found it’s voice, and that voice demands fairness and justice - for ALL. This land IS our land! AND WE WANT IT BACK! We want our LIVES back! We want our FUTURE back! But it’s much more than just words.... it’s much more than politics..... it’s your freakin’ LIFE, and how you want to live it, and how you WILL live it. Find a quiet place somewhere, and consider this: Each of us has only one brief life....one chance....one roll of the dice....and many choices. The time has come to choose....to risk...and to act. If not now...then when? If not you, then....who? You DO have the power my friend....and the choice IS yours. Don’t let your dreams die....

mirele
mirele

It's not over yet, a judge just issued a restraining order against the police and Bloomberg. Hearing set for 11:30 am.

MFazzina
MFazzina

That....isn't even logically coherent. Are you saying that we should try to staff our armed service with a large group of political dissidents? Do you think that they're just better at fighting than marines or something? Or are you demanding the right choose people you dislike and put them in dangerous situations? If so, you should probably be on some kind of serial killer watch list or something. And if you want them in a dangerous war zone, wouldn't it be better to send them to Afghanistan?

Pandvl
Pandvl

Isn't Nova Scotia still beholden to the Queen?  That's a laugh, someone from the dark ages telling U.S. citizens how to live.  

pai
pai

Please understand that you're speaking about 1% of immigrants who become what you consider "millionaires"most people are barely holding on to what they have even with a job!

guest
guest

Moron. Your children will be pigeon holed further and further into an Orwellian system. You don't mind being controlled and subjegated? Fine. But shut up and let those who want their god given rights try to get them.

fugue137
fugue137

Apparently 70% of OWS protestors have jobs:

http://thenewcivilrightsmoveme...

"There is no excuse for breaking the law"

What a moronic statement.  What if the law is wrong?  What if the law is created by corporations?  What if those with guns are in violation of the law?

What excuse do the police have for breaking the laws requiring giving access to the press?  How about breaking the "right to peacably assemble and petition for redress of grievances" clause of the Constitution?

Why couldn't you take your kids to the park?  Afraid they might learn something?  Why do you think your personal convenience trumps Constitutional rights?

pai
pai

THEY CAN'T get jobs. regardless of their previous occupations and education. That's what half of them are fighting for. Why can't WE AMERICANS try to understand eachother?!

libmom74
libmom74

@d219af79b45e5891507fda4c4c2139a0:disqus - are you being paid for each post? Or are you just another Koch sucking Teabagger?

Craigley
Craigley

And your solution is, let me guess:  Fairness and redistribution of wealth based upon what you FEEL is just?

Does that about sum it up?

j.d. hogg
j.d. hogg

Once these protesters get to central booking, and get locked up with real criminals who will cut your throat for a dollar, i bet they will never be back in NYC again?

Craigley
Craigley

They have no point and look like the laughing stock of Woodstock.

j.d. hogg
j.d. hogg

give me a break, ocuppying a park for 2 months goes beyond protesting, you cost the city millions, which could be spent helping people? instead of morons like you who have no life. Run for president youu should have no problem? because you have all the answers, genius.

Craigley
Craigley

98% of America sees you as low life fools with no life and no cause.

Squatting in a park is going to get you NOWHERE.

j.d. hogg
j.d. hogg

no he didnt, judge upheld the NYPD s actions to keep the park clear of retareded protesters.

Craigley
Craigley

Oh it'll be over.  GOD bless the jackbooted thugs.

Craigley
Craigley

They can't get jobs because they are misfits.  

Every society, heck every species known to man, has them.

Sue Lindgren
Sue Lindgren

libmom74 -Thanks for asking what I was thinking...

Craigley
Craigley

There's great comfort in being a prole.  Obeying makes me ejaculate!

Laughing__Man
Laughing__Man

No, it doesn't even come close.

Reinstate Glass Stegall, over turn Citizen's United, audit the Fed, regulate derivatives and securities trading, prohibit the largest investment banks from speculating with their depositors' money, severely restrict lobbyists in Congress and make political/business conflicts of interest criminal felonies prosecutable as treason.

That's just the beginning.

pai
pai

Haven't you heard? GOP candidates are spending millions just to loose... is it really worth running for president if you're still unable to change a damn thing?  stop being so effing bitter! Adults are far more immature with their opinions than children these days 

MFazzina
MFazzina

What literature or study are you referencing? Also, was it exactly 98% or was there rounding involved?

MFazzina
MFazzina

What does "retareded" mean?

visitor
visitor

No, mirele is correct. The first judge (a woman) did issue a temporary restraining order. The second judge (a man) decided against extending it. And the protesters are allowed back in the park; it's just that they can't bring sleeping bags, tents, tarps, etc. with them.

Jozef_2
Jozef_2

I only wish they had shot them all.

MFazzina
MFazzina

Geez Craigley, the way you keep posting after this Pai person it's like your pulling pig tails in the school yard. If you're that into 'em make a move. Worst they can say is 'no'/

pai
pai

I had to start my own business since being laid off (reason was, small company getting taxed like hell and couldn't afford to run operations anymore) now I'm making it on my own however, if it wasn't for my computer savvy...I would have been like these people.. I have tattoos and had some piercings so I know what some of the more educated "weird" protestors are going through.Everyone is HUMAN here. Everyone deserves to prove themselves to the MAN but no one is getting that chance. Your ignorance to these articles only proves that our society is in the dumps

Craigley
Craigley

I wish these bums were like my computer keyboard, so I could PUNCH them!  Pow!  Zap!  

Frank Willowby
Frank Willowby

where will America go from here- To China or Syria for Guidance on Freedom!

Smegley
Smegley

Why do some people ask rhetorical questions to convey their phony confusion?  How dumb do you have to be to think those rhetorical questions could convince anyone?  Are rhetorical questions more important than governments following the law?

Craigley
Craigley

Sure DOES sound like the Tea Party agenda.

Yet the White House and Nancy P. called their movement "fake/astroturf".  

Why is this?

Jozef_2
Jozef_2

Funny, you sound like a Tea Partier   -- both a bunch of crazies, but at least the TPs are not acting like Brown Shirts yet, unlike OWS

pai
pai

Congratulations, I have a job. Your ignorance will get you nowhere

j.d. hogg
j.d. hogg

your a moron also, get jobs protesters, stop being bums

MFazzina
MFazzina

Yes. You should fight for the rights of consenting adults to marry the partner of their choice.

MFazzina
MFazzina

Why is that? Academically, how would the situation have been better if everyone had been shot?

pai
pai

Sounds pretty homosexual to me. Should I fight for your right to marry a man? Don't worry, I'll support you Craigley

Craigley
Craigley

Sure, I stroke my penis seeing the government break the law.  What decent American wouldn't?

pai
pai

That is so rude, you want my tax paying dollars to shoot people?? in america?! what did they do to you directly?! I can only hope 2012 is a real prophecy because were damn right shaming ourselves as human beings 

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