In the hours before dawn on Tuesday morning, the NYPD, complete with riot gear, created a human shield and raided the OWS camp at Zuccotti Park while the protesters slept peacefully inside their tents. Many protesters were dragged away in handcuffs and the rest left the park. The order to raid the park came from Mayor Bloomberg who apparently takes his orders from the park owners.
City workers and police dismantled the camp and tore down the tents under the guise of “cleaning the park,” even though protesters have been cleaning the park on their own. Bloomberg says the protesters can return but that they must do so without tents. This is a brand new rule dreamed up by the owners of the park and Bloomberg that would significantly weaken the Occupy Wall Street movement. But the courts are intervening to protect the right to protest. Lawyers immediately obtained a court order to let protesters re-occupy the park with their tents. Bloomberg, the billionaire mayor, intends to challenge the order.
The eviction of the protesters from their NYC camp comes on the heels of the events in Oakland. Cities such as Dallas and London also look to break up protests in the very near future.
What the police did last night is an affront to democracy and constitutional rights. It makes one wonder whose side they are really on. Bloomberg and his Wall Street buddies have been eager to break up the OWS movement since it began. Thankfully, America has a court system that understands what the right to protest means.
The OWS protesters intend to take back the park as soon as possible.