Ignoring the gibe, Mayor Bloomberg’s deputy for communications, Howard Wolfson, said the criticism of police tactics missed the central question of the raid—whether protesters should have been allowed to maintain their tent city indefinitely. It’s a question that even some of Zuccotti’s supporters might have trouble answering truthfully, despite widespread opposition about the underhanded way the eviction was carried out.
“I was shocked at the statements put out by many of those who say they are going to be running for mayor,” Mr. Wolfson said. “The central issue before this mayor at this time was whether or not the tenting and tarping and camping can continue at Zuccotti Park. And not a single statement by any of the mayoral aspirants addressed that central issue.”
The only person who has officially launched his mayoral campaign, longshot candidate and local media mogul Tom Allon, told The Observer Mr. Wolfson was the one dodging the issues.
“Deputy Mayor Wolfson’s attempt to spin the administration’s dead of night, military-style raid on sleeping protesters into a health and safety issue simply doesn’t conform with reality. Rather than worrying about the 2013 mayoral race, Wolfson should be explaining to the public why, over the last two days, roughing up and arresting journalists for daring to report on Occupy Wall Street has appeared to become a matter of policy,” Mr. Allon said.
As politicians jockeyed over the circumstances surrounding the raid, the debate over tenting was already becoming moot. On Tuesday night in Zuccotti Park, protesters met for the first General Assembly following the end of their encampment. A large crowd packed tightly into the newly uncluttered space for an account of what had happened and a discussion about what was next. Many of those present had been awake through the previous night. Some were sprawled out napping on Zuccotti’s Tetris-like, geometric benches under honey locust trees whose leaves had recently changed to a piercing yellow. A light drizzle fell, as the occupiers began to unveil the next phase of the movement, including plans to move beyond Zuccotti Park and to capitalize on the newfound political support generated by the severity of the raid.
“Last night was really hard,” said the convener of the General Assembly (“LAST NIGHT WAS REALLY HARD,” echoed the crowd). “We lost a lot (WE LOST A LOT). But we have so much more (BUT WE HAVE SO MUCH MORE).”
“They showed us their power (THEY SHOWED US THEIR POWER),” the occupiers said. “And we’re showing them ours. (AND WE’RE SHOWING THEM OURS.)” The people’s microphone dissolved into cheers.