While most of America was asleep, NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered police in riot gear to evict Occupy Wall Street protesters from Zuccotti Park, the home of their demonstration since September.
Once again citing issues of cleanliness and public access, Bloomberg told protesters to leave so that the park could be cleaned. Those who resisted would face arrest. There are accounts of medical volunteers and kitchen staff being forcibly arrested even as they tried to leave peacefully.
“New York City is the city where you can come and express yourself,” the mayor said. “What was happening in Zuccotti Park was not that.” He said the protesters had taken over the park, “making it unavailable to anyone else.”
Here is a reproduction of the live blog on the Occupy Wall Street website (read from the bottom for chronological order):
6:05 a.m. Liberty Square has been cleared. General assembly under way at Foley Square.
3:36 a.m. Kitchen tent reported teargassed. Police moving in with zip cuffs.
3:33 a.m. Bulldozers moving in
3:16 a.m. Occupiers linking arms around riot police
3:15 a.m. NYPD destroying personal items. Occupiers prevented from leaving with their possessions.
3:13 a.m. NYPD deploying sound cannon
3:08 a.m. heard on livestream: “they’re bringing in the hoses.”
3:05 a.m. NYPD cutting down trees in Liberty Square
2:55 a.m. NYC council-member Ydanis Rodríguez arrested and bleeding from head.
2:44 a.m. Defiant occupiers barricaded Liberty Square kitchen
2:44 a.m. NYPD destroys OWS Library. 5,000 donated books in dumpster.
2:42 a.m. Brooklyn Bridge confirmed closed
2:38 a.m. 400-500 marching north to Foley Square
2:32 a.m. All subways but R shut down
2:29 a.m. Press helicopters evicted from airspace. NYTimes reporter arrested.
2:22 a.m. Frontpage coverage from New York Times
2:15 a.m. Occupiers who have been dispersed are regrouping at Foley Square
2:10 a.m. Press barred from entering Liberty Square
2:07 a.m. Pepper spray deployed — reports of at least one reporter sprayed
2:03 a.m. Massive Police Presence at Canal and Broadway
1:43 a.m. Helicopters overhead.
1:38 a.m. Unconfirmed reports of snipers on rooftops.
1:34 a.m. CBS News Helicopter Livestream
1:27 a.m. Unconfirmed reports that police are planning to sweep everyone.
1:20 a.m. Subway stops are closed.
1:20 a.m. Brooklyn bridge is closed.
1:20 a.m. Occupiers chanting “This is what a police state looks like.”
1:20 a.m. Police are in riot gear.
1:20 a.m. Police are bringing in bulldozers.
So welcome to America land of the corporately-enslaved and home of the politically-selfish.
Where you’re free to assemble, but only during business hours; where you’re free to speak your mind as long as it doesn’t make anyone uncomfortable; and you’re welcome to protest corruption, civil rights violations, and oppression as long as your targets are the rich and powerful of any other country besides this one.
If you’re not angry yet, you might want to check your pulse.
Image Credit: Flickr – meadow03