On March 17, New York police attacked Occupy Wall Street protesters seeking to re-occupy Liberty Park in Manhattan, leading to 73 arrests. The park was occupied from last September until a violent police raid cleared it in November. In response, OWS protesters occupied Union Square, a public square in Manhattan. It was violently raided by police on March 21. Below is an abridged report from www.occupywallst.org on March 22 on the running battles with police.
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At the new occupation of Union Square, a pattern is emerging. For five days, since the NYPD attacked the attempted re-occupation of Liberty Square, hundreds of people have Occupied the park in midtown Manhattan.
For the past two nights, using the pretext of “midnight park cleaning”, the NYPD has responded with heavy-handed tactics to enforce a curfew on the park for the first time since it opened in 1882.
Twice, the NYPD has come under cover of darkness to harass and intimidate the peaceful Occupiers.
Last night, thousands of New Yorkers converged on Union Square for the #MillionHoodiesMarch to demand justice for Trayvon Martin and all victims of racist terror. The NYPD also turned out in huge numbers and attacked the marchers, who responded with chants of “no justice, no peace, no racist police!”
The NYPD once again stole the show, turning a march against the killing of a Black 17-year-old into yet another scene of police brutality against protesters.
The crowd was split into several smaller marches by police assaults. One group filled Times Square, another headed to the Brooklyn Bridge and a third converged on Liberty Square (which the NYPD had already barricaded).
Nearby, top NYPD brass were caught on livestream violently arresting and swinging batons at peaceful protesters.
As the march arrived in the financial district, protesters overturned the barricades on Wall Street and climbed the iconic Wall Street bull that NYPD has vigilantly guarded since #OWS began, long a symbol of the banking and financial industry's greed.
The police were quick to rush to defend the symbol of the stock exchange, receiving chants of “Whose cops? Wall Street´s cops!”
In the United States, police attack non-violent protesters for challenging economic inequality, but killers of unarmed youth of colour are left alone.
After the march, many Occupiers returned to Union Square for the night. They were met with an even larger police presence.
Hundreds of police set up barricades. The NYPD forced Occupiers from their peaceful encampment once again, formed a human chain around protesters and threatened to arrest anyone who sat in the park.
For two nights now, in a display of wishful thinking, local corporate media have claimed that Occupy Union Square was evicted. But we're still here. Last night, after being kicked out temporarily, Occupiers merely marched around the perimeter and waited in a tense stand-off until police finally left.
It is yet to be seen how long the NYPD will continue this nightly dramatic waste of city resources. The NYPD is waging an unwinnable war on dissent.