Breaking, Entering, and Boozing with the Castaways of OWS
In a set of unfinished luxury condos, a ragtag group of 100 anarchists and anti-capitalists smoked clove cigarettes and pissed in unworking toilets at an "Occupation Party" Saturday night in Williamsburg.
The cops broke up the party within an hour and sent occupiers out onto Bedford Avenue, where there was chanting and talk of squatting elsewhere, occupying the police precinct, and finding a "chill bar" to hit next. According to a DCPI spokesperson, 4 arrests were made, with charges ranging from disorderly conduct to assaulting a police officer. Six officers were taken to Bellevue Hospital in the East Village and released earlier this morning.
The "Occuparty" drew a mix of cool kids looking for an experience and Occupy Wall Street castaways, who said they hoped this would be the first in a series of "rolling occupations" around the county to "build capacity" for a May 1 general strike.
The scent of spray paint and sour diesel wafted through the yard (read: vacant field of broken glass), where occupiers traded war stories and wondered when the police would come.
Inside occupiers passed around spray paint and explored the condo. Someone painted "Cannibalize the crisis" in the stairwell and another tagger responded "Be the crisis!" The beverage of choice appeared to be Amstel Light. People brought in their own stereo equipment and black lights. Some had sleeping bags and provisions, ready to make the unfinished shell home. An occupier explained that they were prepared to stay as long as they could -- it turned out that would only be about 30 minutes.
Just as occupiers circled up in the yard and made a weak attempt to mic check, floodlights appeared from around the corner. Two cops shouted "Drop the fuckin' beers" and ordered people to sit down where they are -- absolutely no one did either. Most start to mosey out, grabbing beer along the way.
Runnin' Scared followed a few overzealous people out of a gap in the chain link fence and into a vacant lot full of weeds and urban detritus. Two women made a run for it and started to scale an eight-foot fence, which was lined with barbed wire. This blogger turned around, deciding she'd rather take a brush with the man than a brush with tetanus.
Back on the scene, it was like an underage party in a college dorm, where no one wanted to fess up to the RA. The two cops had no clue what they walked into. They asked the crowd who let them in. People offered up fake names.
"Aw Matt. It's Matt's party. He's like around the corner," one said.
"Kevin! Yo, Kevin. Cops wanna talk to you," another guy said, gesturing to a random spot in the crowd before making a subtle exit.
The building -- 205 North 8th Street developed by Reuben Pinner of Iviz Developers -- went on the market last year at list prices ranging from $399,000-625,000. According to a emails about the event, the location was chosen because it "is owned by a bank known to invest in bio-, chemical, and nuclear weapons, as well as cluster bombs used specifically by Qaddafi against the 2011 insurgency." According to building documents, the condo was funded by Banco Popular North America.
A hundred people flooded onto 8th Street and waited for the next move as six cops cars pulled in. They shouted "No Peace. No Justice. Fuck the Police" and called the officers pigs.
An occupier told Runnin' Scared that cops pushed people into the crowd as they were exiting the building. One woman fell into a glass door, allegedly after she'd been pushed. The glass shattered and a police officer attempted to arrest her, saying she'd kicked it in. A dozen people ran towards the officer as he tried to make the arrest, and absorbed the woman into the crowd.
According to a DCPI spokesperson, some people "threw unknown objects at officers." One officer was taken to Bellevue with a head injury after someone threw a glass bottle at him. The four occupiers taken into custody were charged with inciting a riot, and according to the DCPI they appeared to be "the ringleaders behind this event."
On the street someone spray painted a black line across the drivers side of a marked cop car. DCPI said this incident is still under investigation, as is the break-in.
Overhead no one seemed to notice a man on the fourth floor balcony of 205 North 8th Street, unfurling a banner for a May 1 General Strike. The banner directed viewers to strikeeverywhere.net.
Cops on the scene said they were taken by surprise and had no idea how the gathering came together or what people planned to do next.
"I don't wanna start the revolution. I just wanna drink beer," one man said before he and his friends ducked into a bar on Bedford Avenue, where people began marching in the street.
Occupiers chanted more anti-police, anti-capitalism slogans. A woman with a metal shopping cart stopped at the corner of 6th for a moment and regarded a group of occupiers who were running by, overturning trash cans.
"Fucking kids," she said, shaking her head and wheeling her cart on.