Protesters Re-Occupy Zuccotti Park

imag0465 Protesters Re Occupy Zuccotti Park

Protester proclaims the grand re-opening of Zuccotti Park, Tuesday, Nov. 15.

Occupy Wall Street protesters have returned to Zuccotti Park–without their tents, sleeping bags or other personal belongings. Protesters were evicted from the park at about one this morning during a late night NYPD raid. A court denied the protesters’ bid to restore their full encampment shortly before 5 p.m.

In the hour before the barricades opened, protesters went through a roller coaster of emotions fueled by false rumors and general confusion. Initially, the atmosphere was electric and celebratory throughout the crowd lining the barricaded park thanks to erroneous reports of a court victory spread via the protesters’ emergency mass text alert system, as well as several impromptu bands that had formed among the crowd.

At approximately 5:15 p.m., word began to spread that the protesters actually lost their case. They called an impromptu meeting outside the barricade at the Southeast corner of the park to plan their next move.  A young brunette in a leather jacket addressed the crowd via the call-and-response “people’s mic” that has become a signature element of the protests.

“Apparently, there is an emergency G.A. meeting scheduled right over there,” the woman said pointing to the opposite corner. The crowd repeated each of her words. “Even if the police were to block us, we will all be in one big location and can figure out where to go next as we are not allowed to meet here to discuss how to move forward.”

A group of police wearing riot helmets and wielding batons began to line up behind the protesters who were clearly unsure of what would happen next.

“Can everyone get on social media? We’re trying to find out if anything has been posted,” the woman said with the crowd dutifully repeated her plea for accurate information.

Protesters also sent an emissary to look for representatives from the National Lawyer’s Guild who worked on their case in the hopes they could explain the situation. While they waited, protesters debated attempting to re-take Zuccotti Park, which was still barricaded and being guarded by police officers and neon vested workers from Brookfield Properties, the company that owns the park. A protester discussed the “inspirational” effect breaking through the barricades would have on other Occupy movements around the country. One man suggested they begin discussing other potential locations to avoid having the park become a “golden calf” for the movement.

At 5:33 p.m., as the protesters continued debating their options, police began letting small groups of people through the barricades on the Northwestern side of the park. A protesters ran through Zuccotti waving a sign that read “Grand Re-Opening” and eliciting huge cheers from those still outside the gates. A police officer ensured the group that was meeting on the park’s Southeastern edge that they would be allowed to re-enter the park “in an orderly fashion.”

Protesters began trickling into the park through small openings in the barricades manned by Brookfield staff who turned away anyone who had large bags or other personal items. A policeman used a megaphone to address the protesters.

“Zuccotti Park is now open,” he said.

“Right this way,” directed a police officer on the Cedar street side of the park. “Welcome home.” An occupier passed out cheap ponchos; it had started to rain.

imag04601 Protesters Re Occupy Zuccotti Park

Protesters re-occupy Zuccotti Park on Nov. 15.

The park has rules now, though. Whereas the N.Y.P.D. had been keeping its distance from the protest, preferring to surround the park rather than walk through it, tonight the police stationed themselves inside. There was to be no standing on the tables. There was to be no crowding around the entrances. “Step back into the park,” one policeman admonished when The Observer tried to get a peek at the line of eager occupiers along Liberty from behind the barricade. “Is this the park?” asked the occupier beside us mischievously, pointing at tiles with his toe. “Or is this the park?”

We noticed, however, that the police did not attempt to stop occupiers from smoking.

Just behind us, a Fox news crew was being surrounded by a small but dense mob of protesters. “Boo!” they chanted. “We don’t want your propaganda!” Members of the N.Y.P.D. stepped in to escort the pair out.

447823508 Protesters Re Occupy Zuccotti Park

Representatives from Brookfield Properties, which owns Zuccotti Park, replaced signs with the park rules. The old rules specified the park hours as 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.; the new signs omit the hour limitations, as the park was designated a 24-hour space when it was established.

At the east side of the park, one of the “Legal Observers,” the neon-capped witnesses who report to the National Lawyers Guild, fielded questions from irascible occupiers. “If this is our space, how can they give us rules?” a young woman who looked to be about 17 asked in an accusatory tone. “While a lot of that is bullshit because they just don’t want people here, it is reasonable not to allow camping gear and the Supreme Court has ruled on that,” he explained.

“Isn’t it a fire hazard to have people penned in by barricades?” asked a stout protester who looked warm in a mustache and fleece. The Legal Observer affirmed. “There are no fire exits here!” exclaimed the young lady.

Indeed, Zuccotti Park now has three entrances and only one exit, along Trinity Place, where a pair of occupiers carting two boxes of Occupied Wall Street Journals were being ushered out because their cargo was too large. “Beat it,” said one of the cops on the line.

But overall, the mood was gleeful. About 200 protesters were in jail and the infrastructure was in storage at 57th St. Sanit Garage. But the General Assembly began shortly after 7 p.m.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s statement on the re-occupation:

“This morning we planned to re-open Zuccotti Park to the public, including any protestors, at approximately 8:00 AM when the cleaning was completed. The opening of the park was delayed due to legal action taken against the City, but Zuccotti Park is now open to the public. The court’s ruling vindicates our position that First Amendment rights do not include the right to endanger the public or infringe on the rights of others by taking over a public space with tents and tarps. The City has the ultimate responsibility to protect public health and safety and we will continue to ensure that everyone can express themselves in New York City. Zuccotti Park will remain open to all who want to enjoy it, as long as they abide by the park’s rules.”

Last updated 7:27 p.m.

Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    It’s not your park idiots, it is owned by Brookfield Properties. Some people worked hard and started a business and then bought lots of real estate with their HARD EARNED money. Then they bought some land and made a park for the public to enjoy, not for slobs like you to claim as yours.

    You fools did nothing. You may have gone to college and then were too lazy to get a job. Maybe you were too stupid to earn a degree in something you could use in life, but that’s your problem.

    You can’t just take other people’s money who WORKED for it because you’re too stupid to get a job.

    Go home to your parents who are also stupid for letting you live there without working for a living.

    Leeches.

    1. GGLiddy says:

      Hey voters of new york…
      I have a job and it’s a blue collar job because I couldn’t afford to go to college(unlike the “owners” of “the park”‘s offspring). And it’s not because I was stupid. I can’t go home to my parents since they died years ago.
      But there’s one thing I can do and that’s fight for my and YOUR rights. And I’d like to do so without having my head smashed thank you

    2. Anonymous says:

      You are mistaken–the park is a public park, with some maintenance services paid for by a private business, which built the public park in exchange for being able to develop land their building sits on (and with some generous tax breaks at my expense in the bargain)–so I and other tax-paying New Yorkers helped pay for this park. And please, can we stop with the “hard working” martyrdom cloak for big biz? Clearly, they aren’t working hard enough or our economy wouldn’t be as far down the crapper as it is.  If you want to hear stories of hard work, go to wearethe99percent tumblr blog and read about people holding down two and three jobs just to barely get by after our paper-shuffling captains of finance did all that “hard work” picking these poor folks clean.

    3. billnotadoormat says:

      What a little fascist you are.  Brookfield Properties probably used their easily gotten money to buy the property, easily if thye are in the bankster/fixed corporate game. They created a park and no doubt got great tax advantages, esteem and extra business for doing so. Once they did so, by common law, the park became a public space as they well knew it would. One of  the primary uses  for a park is to allow people to mingle and exchange their ideas about whatever.  It is a Constitutional right to gather in such places to address public grievences. Now you would deny the people in the park their right to use it because you don’t agree to how they are doing it and particularly what their agenda is. Perhaps you would be happier if they were burning crosses. 

      I guess you believe that all those hard working drug dealers and abank robbers are also entitled to all the money they can steal. I can guess that you are also engaged in some kind of theft – not so the great majority of the voters of New York.

    1. Melodyg says:

      Yeah, both Bloomberg and the cops have handled this very badly – although I think “losers” is sort of a harsh term to apply to the NYPD.