Mayor takes back Liberty Square
Amity Paye AmNews Web Manager | 11/17/2011, 1:09 p.m.
At 1 a.m. Tuesday morning, hundreds of protestors were confronted by police in Liberty Square-also known as Zuccotti Park, the home of Occupy Wall Street. Still more protestors received the call to action and came rushing downtown only to be met by police in riot gear pushing, pepper spraying and hitting protestors in order to prevent them from getting close to the park.
Amongst all this chaos, many groups were split apart and three contingents of protestors were formed. The first group stayed put at Liberty Square, where most were arrested. Members of the camp's kitchen working group chained themselves by the necks to trees in order to stay in the park but were later arrested as well.
The second contingent of protestors headed down to Battery Park. There they spent some time regrouping before marching back uptown to Broadway and Pine Street and working to barricade the streets, trying to stop dump trucks containing all of the material taken out of the park from driving away.
The third group marched uptown in several groups along Broadway, clashing with police.
During the march, a few integral Black members of the Occupy Wall Street group were targeted for arrest by police. "They are trying to arrest Hero," yelled many voices in the crowd as it neared Broadway and Fourth Street. The young Black protestor, Hero, with whom the Amsterdam News spoke earlier this month was surrounded by protestors who were trying to protect him, but once police spotted him, they charged the crowd to arrest him.
At least twice during the night Nelini, a Black protestor who has been part of the group from day 1 whom the Amsterdam News also profiled weeks ago, was also targeted and grabbed by police but pulled back into the crowd by nearby protestors.
Both Hero and Nelini, who have already been arrested during other Occupy protests, were arrested Tuesday morning.
The third contingent of protestors eventually headed back downtown to Foley Square, where they set up an impromptu camp with an information desk, medical aid and food. They then held a General Assembly to decide what to do next.
"Just because we lost Zuccotti Park doesn't mean we lost the movement. We exist everywhere in our minds and in our hearts," said Brittany Robinson, a Black protestor who has worked in outreach and with Occupy CUNY, as she helped facilitate the General Assembly at Foley Square.
"I had the privilege of going into Zuccotti Park, and this was the only thing overlooked by the sanitation crew that threw away all our private property," said one protestor, holding up an American flag. "I bring this to you hoping that you will bring it back to Zuccotti Park"
With a new sense of determination as the sun rose, the Foley Square group decided to march past a press conference that Mayor Michael Bloomberg was giving about the successful effort to close Liberty Square. Making their point, the protestors rounded City Hall and marched uptown to meet clergy and other religious leaders assembled at Juan Pablo Duarte Square.