A Protestor and a police officer exchange angry words.
The “people’s mic” in action.
Protestors chant “Everybody Stay” as rain pours down.
Students rally at Union Square.
The protestors make music.
A Protestor and a police officer exchange angry words.
The “people’s mic” in action.
Protestors chant “Everybody Stay” as rain pours down.
Students rally at Union Square.
The protestors make music.
Groups of NYPD officers stood armed at every corner inside the Union Square subway station this evening watching Occupy Wall Street protestors as they chanted and expressed opinions to anyone willing to listen. while outside in the square, students from all over the city joined protestors to rally against the 1 percent.
With the constant threat of being permanently banned from their headquarters, Zuccotti Park, protestors have decided to take action citywide, occupying subway stations in all five boroughs in hopes to educate those not already involved in the movement. They called it “A National Day oF Action” and in the end scores of protestors were arrested and several police officers injured.
Protestors gathered inside the Union Square station to try to engage commuters in conversation by sharing personal stories, hoping to highlight problems faced by the 99 percent.
“It’s to talk to people about what’s going on,” said Joe Chavez, 28, a protestor from East Williamsburg, Brooklyn. “It’s not to shut the subways down, its not about taking them over. It’s about sharing our stories.”
In the station, protestors handed out free copies of “The Occupied Wall Street Journal,” the movement’s personal newspaper.
Michael Levitin, 35, from San Francisco, Calif. is one of the five editors of the paper. He was handing out free papers for commuters to read on the subway, further spreading the occupiers’ message. Levitan said the paper is funded by the more than 1,600 donors from around the world. The paper’s fifth issue, which will be a national one, will be launched next week.
Meanwhile, above ground, protestors and students from schools all over the city gathered at Union Square to hold a student rally and march along Fifth Avenue.
Ally Freeman, 18, from Greenpoint, Brooklyn, a literary studies major at The New School, said students are especially affected. She takes out student loans to pay high tuition prices, and said it’s time for young people to speak up.
“It’s really important that we be here, to show just because they’ve moved us out of Zuccotti Park doesn’t mean there isn’t still this movement,” Freeman said. “We’re still here and we’re still fighting.”
As for the threat of losing their home base of Zuccotti Park, some protestors said they aren’t worried.
Tielor McBride, 25, a protestor from Kansas City, said you can take an idea out of anywhere and the lack of space won’t slow down the movement.
“It was never about the park, it exists in the minds and the hearts of the people that believe in it,” he said.
The post eviction era of Occupy Wall Street kicked off with a march from Tribeca’s Juan Pablo Duarte Square back home to reclaim Zuccotti Park.
The march went largely unsupervised by the NYPD, culminating in the protestors spilling off the sidewalks and onto Broadway at Walker Street, holding up southbound traffic as they chanted and slowly stepped their way toward their former home.
When the crowd of several hundred reached Broadway and Chambers Street, they came to a standstill, dancing in circles, tapping their feet to the rhythm of drum beats and chants of, “Get up, get down, there’s a revolution in town.”
One man, clad in shirt and tie, called out from a second story window, pleading for the protestors to stop. But the clump of boisterous protestors stayed until NYPD officers, like cowboys on horseback, came streaking down Murray Street, blocking off Broadway and cutting off protestors, pushing them back onto the sidewalk.
No clashes with police ensued. The group reached Zuccotti Park where they stood shoulder-to-shoulder, smashed and clumped together.
The protestors were allowed back in the park in the evening, but are no longer allowed to camp there.
After the Occupy Wall Street movement suffered a massive blow early Tuesday when police raided Zuccotti Park, protesters joyously reentered the park after spending the day displaced from the park they now call home.
Around 5:30 p.m. today, police slowly started to let protesters back into the park. Passing through a line of security officers and cops, protesters immediately started to chant, “Whose park? Our park!”
“When everyone started to get let back in, there was a feeling of jubilation,” said Leah Meyerhoff, 31 of Brooklyn. “People seemed to be excited to be let back into what some people are calling their home.”
Amidst the celebrations, protesters were still upset about the force with which they were removed. Ramona Duminicioiu, a 28-year-old Romanian visiting the United States to learn about the Occupy Wall Street Movement, was disappointed at the treatment of the protesters.
“The police should not have been here,” she said. “I am very, very outraged. I mean, getting back in the part is not a happiness; it should’ve been normal for the people to be here continuously without being bothered by the local authorities.”
A Supreme Court judge upheld an earlier ruling that protesters cannot camp in the park, but can protest there. But many of the protesters are unsure about the new rules.
“It’s not even exactly clear what the decision is to the laywers,” said Joe Diamond, a member of the Occupy Wall Street media team who just spoke with the movement’s legal team.
Diamond said the lawyers told him that they need time to review the dense court decision, but that the park would in fact be open 24 hours. Tents are not allowed, but the rest remains unknown.
“You ask ten people, you get ten different answers,” Diamond said.
Regardless of the outcome of the hearing, enthusiasm is not dying. Dennis Iturrarde, 46 of Manhattan, said he would like to thank Mayor Bloomberg for the eviction because it spread the word about Occupy Wall Street.
“We cannot sleep, but this is our park,” he said. “I’ll be back here in the morning, every day.”
Lopi LaRoe, who was doing a LiveStream broadcast to supporters around the world said they are being spontaneous.
“We’re improvising life,” LaRoe said “We’re improvising occupation. We’re figuring it out as we go along.”
Today was the most turbulent day of Occupy Wall Street’s two month existence, with protestors being forced out of the park overnight by police and then engaging in marches, standoffs and non-violent confrontations with police throughout the day.
But amidst the commotion, protestors were eager to express that police crackdowns and attempted evictions will only strengthen the movement as a whole.
“I think it’s like cutting of the head of a hydra,” said Robin Mahonen, 56, from Wheeling, W. Va., referring to the mythical Greek beast. “You cut off one head, but nine more grow back.”
Holding a sign that read “Occupy Everything,” Acevedo circled the barricaded park while whistling at police officers and cheering for fellow protestors chanting against the cops.
“This is going to make (the police) feel better for now,” she said. “But this is still where I occupy.”
While this was the first major police movement against New York’s Occupy site, occupation movements across the country have been under siege in recent weeks.
In Oakland, police raided the Occupy encampment Monday for the second time since late October. The first standoff included tear gas and broken windows. The second was apparently much less violent.
Occupy Portland was shut down over the weekend by police, and protestors have denounced the mayor for authorizing the use of excessive force against occupiers.
Seventeen people were arrested over the weekend at Occupy Denver, and in Philadelphia, Mayor Michael Nutter cited “dramatically deteriorating conditions” while expressing his growing frustration with the protest movement residing outside City Hall.
All of this preceded New York’s surprise raid last night, when police barricaded off the blocks surrounding Zuccotti Park, removing protestors and their tents and tarps.
Timothy Gordon, 20, was at home in Gardner, N.Y., last night, but he said the police took his tent. His friends staying at the campsite told him that the cops were “ruthless.”
“I asked (the police) where my belongings are,” Gordon said. “He said they’re at the dump in Staten Island.”
Chuck Helms, 64, said he would be outraged if police threw out people’s property.
“If they junked them, that’s wrong,” he said emphatically.
“Some people, this was their home, their actual home,” said Acevedo.
“The police are unjust,” Gordon said, wondering aloud how police cars could be emblazoned with the slogan “Courtesy, Professionalism, Respect” while taking his belongings away.
Every time he has left the park, he said, cops have taken his property. So he vowed that he is “never going to part with this (park) again.”
That sense of dedication to the movement was apparent in almost every protestor surrounding the park.
“Every time something like this happens, it gets people outraged,” said Nelson Falu, 36, of Fordham Road, in the Bronx.
He looked over at the park, for the first time in two months filled by nothing other than security guards.
“This was ridiculous,” he said.
“They’re going to make it stronger, I know it,” said Gordon, when asked what the police action will do to the movement.
“If anything, (police action) will invigorate us,” Mahonen echoed.
And despite the blockades and obstacles that stood between protestors and the park they’ve occupied since September, Gordon said once he was allowed back in, his stance would not waver.
“They can’t keep us out,” he said. “I’m not leaving again.”
Shortly after midnight, about 1,000 New York City Police Department officers in riot gear cleared Zuccotti Park of the Occupy Wall Street protesters who have called the downtown park home for the past two months.
The park was completely emptied of protesters, tents, sleeping bags, books and other belongings, by the New York City Police Department, the Fire Department and Sanitation Department, within a few hours.
“Protestors have had two months to occupy the park with tents and sleeping bags. Now they will have to occupy the space with the power of their arguments,” Mayor Bloomberg stated in a press release.
Bloomberg cites dangers to public health, safety and accessibility for the clearance.
“The dangers posed were evident last week,” he stated in the press release. “When an EMT was injured as protestors attempted to prevent him and several police officers from helping a mentally ill man who was menacing others. As an increasing number of large tents and other structures have been erected, these dangers have increased.”
Occupy Wall Street demonstrators tied themselves to structures in the park to evade eviction, according to several protesters who were present when the removal process started around 1 a.m.
Kimberly Howard, 25, from Queens, confirms there were about 1,000 police officers present, some of which worked to remove protesters from the park.
“One female was in the position where she was sitting on the floor,”Howard said. “They lifted her up by all fours and went back. There were people chained to the kitchen. I’m hearing a lot of [accounts] of pepper spray, beatings, some people got arrested. These were the people there for it.”
Howard said trucks and police vans showed up after she left an OWS Spokes Council meeting.
“I witnessed Emergency Service Police come in with two officers standing in the streets [directing] multiple Emergency Service Unit Trucks,” she said. “They were moving them very fast. You could hear the engines, stop and speed up again. So, with that I knew something was coming up.”
There are various accounts of individuals being pepper sprayed after groups of protesters tried to get back to the park after police officials secured a circumference of two blocks around the block with barricades.
“I was pepper sprayed,” said Nicole Carty, 23, who had traveled from Brooklyn at 1 a.m. after getting Emergency Response text messages from OWS group members. “At least 30 people were pepper sprayed. There was a lot of police brutality all throughout last night.”
Several individuals who were pepper sprayed were led by others to open cafes around 2 a.m. where they were able to douse their eyes with a solution of milk and water.
Carty was one of the many people who received text messages from those in Zuccotti Park about the surprise clearance. She said groups of people walked the hours trying to figure out a way to get back to the park. NYPD officers forbid her from going towards the park, forcing her to walk north.
Before walking further away from the park, having arrived on the scene in a taxi cab, Carty recalls seeing the protesters who chained themselves to structures.
“I saw at least 40 people were locking down the park,” Carty said. “They eventually had to be cut out of those locks. Others kicked out of the park probably 100, 200 at least. They were told to go somewhere else. That was what I witnessed.”
People were trying to get through barricades set up on Broadway. Adding to the 200 people already on the scene, individuals were arriving by train and cabs, according to several witnesses who congregated in Foley Square and all around Lower Manhattan this morning to figure out the group’s next steps.
“They are pushing us against it,” Carty said. “They had these plastic buckets, they have helmets. They are literally squeezing people, crushing them against the wall. And people were trying to not be crushed against the walls. I saw a lot of brutality.”
This morning, Carty and Ethan Buckner, 20, from Minneapolis, Minn, and a small group of OWS supporters were making their way from Foley Square towards a large congregation in a park next to Sixth Avenue and Canal Street at approximately 9:30 a.m. Hundreds of protesters filled the square next to roads leading to the Holland Tunnel. More than a dozen police vans met the protesters as they settled.
Buckner witnessed people trying to “soft block” intersections around Zuccotti Park, but the group had trouble with the number of police officers “easily over 1,000” outnumbering those that were there.
“We realized they started bringing trucks of our tents out of the barricades,” Buckner said. “We decided to lock down the intersection. They threw away everything, books, tents, computers,everything.”
Several witnesses at the scene state it was mayhem as people were trying to figure our what to do. Many of the OWS demonstrators kicked out of Zuccotti Park found themselves at Foley Square, a few blocks north of City Hall.
Natas Rivera, 25, from Allentown, Pa., was at Foley Square after traveling throughout the night to make it in time to “protect” the movement.
“I watched it live,” Rivera said. “I saw cops taking people’s tents and throwing them into the street. They were literally throwing everything out over the fence. They started throwing stuff. I was ready to get arrested. I fight for what’s right.”
Rivera says the entire circumference of Foley Square was filled with people before the majority of protesters left the square for a victory march, learning this morning that there was a “Temporary Restraining Order” in favor of the protesters.
A lawyer on site at Foley Square would not speak on the record, but confirmed that OWS received word that there is a hearing scheduled for 11:30 a.m. called upon by Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Lucy Billings regarding the demonstrators rights to set up camp at Zuccotti Park.
Meanwhile, OWS is moving forward with plans to “liberate space and build a movement” with an ongoing demonstration at Sixth Avenue and Canal Street.
Occupy Wall Street protestors arrived back to Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan at around 10:30 this morning, chanting, yelling and skirting dangerously close to a confrontation with police, who had barricaded the park after evicting protestors last night.
The police refused to allow protestors to re-enter the park, violating a temporary restraining order issued by the New York Supreme Court barring cops from keeping protestors out.
Many protestors held copies of the court order in their hands, while chanting “We have a court order!” and “You are breaking the law!” towards police.
Jonas Marton, 29, a lawyer with the National Lawyers Guild, was shocked that the police were not obeying the court’s ruling.
“It’s pretty staggering,” he said.
He explained that at 11:30 today, a judge would hear a final ruling on whether the protestors could occupy the park, but the temporary restraining order declared it legal for protestors to enter the park until that final decision was made.
Why, then, were police not allowing anyone in?
“(Orders) have got to be coming down from the top,” he said, adding that he meant Mayor Bloomberg and police chief Ray Kelly.
“(The police) have taken it upon themselves to reinterpret the law,” said Spencer Gray, 23 of Park Slope,Brooklyn.
Gray said he thought that the raid was hypocritical of police, who stood near signs saying that the park was open, and that he wouldn’t be surprised if police started arresting large numbers of people.
“It’s been ridiculous, and I think this is a prime example,” he said.
“I think it’s a shameful day,” said Robert Reiss, 55, of Murray Hill, Manhattan. “The mayor is missing in action on every moral issue.”
In the absence of being able to enter the park, protestors circled around the barricaded perimeter, many holding angry or profane signs about Mayor Bloomberg and the police.
When the mob first returned to the area of the park after marching from City Hall, several protestors removed barricades around the outer sidewalk surrounding the park. Just when it appeared that a confrontation between the swelling mob of protestors and the wall of police inside the park was inevitable, protestors began circling the park, apparently deciding that entering would result in chaos.
They continued to circle the park for an hour afterwards. Some stood along the barricades and asked police why they were refusing to allow protestors in.
“They say they’re following orders,” said a man who identified himself only as Billy W., 23 of Bedford Styuvesant, Brooklyn.
For most protestors, though, that explanation wasn’t good enough.
“This is revolutionary territory, and the mayor is thwarting it,” said Reiss.
“An explanation isn’t even necessary,” said Gray. “It’s pretty ridiculous.”
With a crackdown of Occupy Wall Street protestors in other cities across the country, the group in the epicenter of it all in Zuccotti Park is scheduling a massive day of “direct action” on Thursday with aims to have protestors occupying every block of New York City.
Bold flyers are being spread through social media via Twitter, urging followers to “Occupy Every Block,” and use the hashtag, #N17. A Facebook event is also in the works. Protests are expected to begin at 7 a.m. in front of the New York Stock Exchange where demonstrators will use “mass non-violent direct action” to “Shut Down Wall Street.”
The plan is for the protest to spread across the five boroughs simultaneously at 3 p.m. as protesters take over 16 central subway stations and ride into the city as one unit.
A presence of unity is one that the protestors have worked to develop. Bret Rothstein, 24, a member of the OWS press working group, explains that embracing togetherness has already occurred at Zuccotti Park.
“The goal is getting everybody together, all the occupations,” Rothstein said. “We are all obviously on the same page, we are all here for the same common goal.”
Michael Frock, 24, from the Upper East Side, has been occupying Zuccotti Park for approximately a month and believes the Day of Action will be big for the movement.
“I would love to see all the 99 percent go home, not go to work, not go to school and occupy with their families,” he said.
The movement is about letting the government know that citizens are upset and giving those living in frustration an arena to speak, according to Frock.
“If enough people do that on one day it will make the message loud and clear,” he said. “The message is that, ‘You can’t live without us.’ [The 1 percent] treats us like we are invisible, so now we are going to act as if we were, and see how they do on that day.”
Chris Carter, 28, from Bethlehem, Pa., said the Day of Action will be a step towards making the various occupations and their corresponding communities cohesive parts of the global movement.
“It shows that it’s not just city to city, but that we are all connected,” Carter said. “Hopefully it will show the solidarity we have, not just with the people in occupations, but all together. We are all a part of the 99 percent.”
Molly Smith, 35, of Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, who was crocheting hats for those in Zuccotti Park on Sunday, is unsure of whether she will partake in the Day of Action. Still, she said she fully supports the idea.
“I like that idea. I really wonder if I would be gutsy enough to walk out of my school,” said Smith, a teacher in the West Village. “But I talk about it at lunch all the time and I can’t believe how little people know of it in terms of how it would affect them.”
A week ago, Penn State football fans were looking forward to this afternoon’s showdown with Nebraska as a crucially important contest between two of the nation’s top teams.
But after seven days riddled with tumult, scandal and shame rocked State College, Pa., the fans, friends and Penn State alumni that gathered at an alumni event at Manhattan’s Tonic East bar in Kips Bay, watched their Nittany Lions with heavy hearts and mixed emotions, still reeling from the week’s inconceivable happenings.
“It’s been really emotional,” said David Fleming, 32, a 2001 Penn State alum who currently lives in Chelsea.
“There’s been a lot coming out,” said Erin Walsh, 24, a Kips Bay resident whose sister went to Penn State.
The commotion all started last Saturday, when the Pennsylvania Attorney General released a gruesome 23-page grand jury report accusing former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky of sexually abusing eight boys over the course of 15 years.
That bombshell led to the firing of several university administrators, including university president Graham Spanier and beloved football coach Joe Paterno.
Until the report’s release, Paterno, Penn State’s head coach for 46 years, was viewed almost as a deity in Pennsylvania. He holds nearly every record for a college football coach, including wins (409), bowl game appearances (37) and bowl game wins (24).
And beyond the numbers, Penn State was viewed as a model football program, regularly a top team in graduation rate and avoiding the scandals that had plagued many of the sport’s most powerful programs.
“People used to call us the gold standard of college football,” Fleming said. “Iconic coach, legendary program. That’s all kind of fallen away.”
It’s fallen away thanks to details that emerged in the Sandusky allegations.
A graduate assistant coach apparently told Paterno vague details about a 2002 rape involving Sandusky and a child in the Penn State football building. Paterno reported it to his boss, athletic director Tim Curley, but no one called the police.
Sandusky, who retired from Penn State in 1999 but was a regular visitor on campus and iconic figure in his own right, allegedly continued to molest boys for seven more years. It wasn’t until 2009, when he was caught with a child in a central Pennsylvania high school, that an investigation into Sandusky’s predatory behavior began.
Reaction to the details of the case and the subsequent firing of many Penn State officials has been a complicated mix. Students in State College rioted after Paterno’s firing, but also held a serene candlelight vigil a few nights later for Sandusky’s victims.
Here in Manhattan, the New York City chapter of the Penn State alumni association made a pledge to donate $1 for each of its dues paying members to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network. But according to a Tonic East employee, who did not give his name while escorting media out of the bar upon alumni request, the phone booths outside the Kips Bay watering hole were covered with vulgar, anti-Penn State posters in advance of today’s alumni gathering.
Walsh said her sister felt “awkward” throwing on her Penn State sweatshirt this morning.
But Fleming said this game was a chance to start anew.
“(The game) is something to rally around,” he said. “It can be the start of the healing process.”
Amidst this complicated array of reactions, what is clear is that for the first time in recent memory, the university will have to handle the pressures of managing a super-sized scandal. And they’ll have to do it without their biggest icon, Joe Paterno. That’s a strange thought for many Penn Staters.
“Who knows?” Fleming said, when asked what the future holds for Penn State. “It’s going to take a long time (to figure out).”
Carrying sacks overflowing with their belongings, the evening’s final batch of competitors – with only moonlight and faded streetlamps to guide their paths – limped towards their respective welcoming parties, like wounded soldiers returning from the front. Wrapped in blue and orange aluminum-looking “heat sheets” that floated behind them like capes, they walked amidst the roars of garbage trucks and the clanging metal of cleanup crews, while a cheerful male voice repeatedly boomed from a nearby speaker:
“Congratulations on completing the New York City Marathon. Please keep moving and exit using the nearest street.”
Standing outside a security barricade at 72nd Street and Central Park West at around 8 PM Sunday, people initially held up signs like “Go Dad” and “Good Job Grandpa Mickey!” but many soon turned hungry and cold from all the waiting and shifted into survival mode, wolfing down hot dogs or bouncing in place. Others, like 27-year-old Vanessa Crooks of Panama, stared at an I-Pad, attempting to locate their friends’ or relatives’ whereabouts via a marathon website (a tracking chip, planted within the runners’ numbered bibs, was supposed to isolate runners’ geographical position). Crooks said she had “no idea” what had happened to her friend, who’d been having knee problems in the days leading up to the race.
“What has she gotten herself into?” lamented a shivering Crooks, who, unlike most marathon cheerleaders, had neither signage nor clothing aimed at pumping someone up.
“I wanted to get [celebratory] balloons but I didn’t even know where to find them,” Crooks explained.
Most of the late finishers had been relegated to walking the course – either due to cramping, or to more serious medical problems. The latter category would apply to Sofia Naouai, 27, whose 55-year-old father was still laboring in the dark park somewhere.
“He had a kidney transplant and is a diabetic, so this is major,” said a worried Naouai. “And his hand is swollen.”
Added Naouai: “He’s also blind in one eye.”
Historically, last place finishers at the New York event have gone on to achieve esteemed status. Zoe Kolowitz, who completed the 2007 marathon in over 28 hours and finished several New York City marathons in last place, is now a motivational speaker and author who has appeared on CNN, The Today Show, and ESPN. She has multiple sclerosis, diabetes, and uses crutches to achieve forward motion. Bob Wieland, who lost both his legs in Vietnam, “ran” the entire 1986 marathon on his hands over the course of four days. Following a White House meeting with President Reagan, he too went on to appear on the motivational speaking circuit.
At approximately 9 PM on Sunday, admittedly exhausted security personnel abandoned their posts at the park’s exterior fence and allowed spectators access to the finish line, where, nine hours earlier, Kenyan speedster Geoffrey Mutai had – under a cloudless sky – shattered the marathon’s all-time record in front of a nationwide TV audience. Now, volunteers and several dozen men, women, and children awaited the evening’s final runner: a 36-year-old, severely-disabled Venezuelan economist named Maickel Melamed, who’d started the race at 9 AM. The faithful, most of whom had flown in from Caracas for the occasion, waved Venezuelan flags, wore shirts proclaiming “Vamos Maickel” and clutched balloons featuring the same slogan. A television crew from Univision conducted interviews; the mood was electric.
“[Melamed’s] a celebrity in Caracas,” said Juan Carlos Garanton, 42, a Venezuelan tax attorney who’d come to the park with his family. “He’s an inspiration for many people, let me tell you.”
Soon it was 10:30 pm, and Melamed still hadn’t materialized, but the faithful remained confident that he’d arrive soon. Especially Garanton, who noted that the famous Latin American holds a secondary profession in addition to economist.
“Motivational speaker,” he said.