So tonight the New York Police Department not only raided and cleared Liberty/Zucotti Park, the place occupied by Occupy Wall Street, claiming there were “health and fire safety concerns.” According to many reports on twitter, the police officers, dressed in riot gear, used force and tear gas against the peaceful citizen-protesters. They also destroyed and literally trashed everything the protesters created, from personal belongings to the wonderful OWS The People’s Library and its 5,000+ books. The OWS Library is not wrong when it describes the destruction of the library, books and artwork as a destruction of American cultural history. On top of all that, sources on twitter, including many journalists, depicted how the NYPD actively prevented journalists and reporters (from both citizen, alternative and mainstream news sources) from reporting what was going on in Zucotti Park. The NYPD even went so far as closing the airspace above the area so that news helicopters could not film the events (even though many people on twitter pointed out that the NYPD has no official control over the airspace.) Residents around Zucotti Park were allegedly locked in their own buildings so that they could not witness the events.
Using force against peaceful protesters, obstructing the press, destroying books and other cultural artifacts and locking in residents. Oh, NYPD. Aren’t you supposed to be the protectors of the people in the “greatest city on earth” in the “oldest democracy in the world? Didn’t look like that last night.*
One can only hope that this gives even more momentum to the movement. And that both sides do not become more violent.
*(I am aware of the fact that there is a longer history of police brutality, not only in NYC, especially against PoC.)