Starting around 1:00am last night, the NYPD forcefully cleared the protesters from their Zuccotti Park bastion, the unofficial headquarters of the Occupy Wall Street movement. The NYPD raid was intended to clear the park of all personal property which, according to a message from Brookfield Properties, real estate developer and Zuccotti Park owner, “poses an increasing health and fire hazard to those camped in the park, the City’s first responders, and to the surrounding community.”
After ignoring initial requests to evacuate the park, police armed with riot gear, nightsticks, tear gas and bulldozers forcefully evicted the occupying protesters. Reports show around 200 arrests were made, including New York Councilman and Occupy Wall Street supporter Ydanis Rodriguez. According to Twitter, Rodriguez was “bleeding from the head thanks to the NYPD” and is currently being held in NYC central booking, charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
Last night’s raid was staged just days before the 2 month anniversary of the park’s occupation on November 17th. The occupiers planned on celebrating the anniversary by “shutting down Wall Street” and “occupying the subways”.
However, even with many occupiers still in jail, Occupy Wall Street has not lost steam. The movement’s largest protests to date are still planned for November 17th, which will take place in every NYC borough and in cities across the world. Their website states, “This movement can’t be contained in one square block in lower Manhattan. It is bigger than that. You can’t evict an idea whose time had come.”
The park was open again to the public and the occupiers at 8:30am this morning.
Video courtesy: John Knefel
Sources: Occupy Wall Street, NBC News, BBC News, Huffington Post, Digital Journal, NY Daily News