The Zuccotti Park Eviction

It is a surreal moment. One of many. The crowd rushes through us, out from Zuccotti Park. I ask, what and someone says riot cops. Screams behind us. A mass of twenty or so protestors are ejected from the narrow corridor of the Fulton Street subway station, splayed on the stone barricades by forearms and batons, riot shields and blue muscle moving en masse. A teenage girl, stocky and fierce, is thrown to the ground. Her hands bound to her back. The crowd yells shame! shame! shame! and rushes to bend its form around her, but the batons shoot up, the shields push out. She’s screaming something to someone in the crowd. Her arms are marked up with various phone numbers: emergency contacts, maybe; the Lawyers’ Guild.

A twenty-something man a few meters down the sidewalk shouts something anti-police and throws a traffic cone, and almost immediately he finds himself swarmed by protestors. Non-violent! they say. “I’ve been here since day one!” he says. non-violent! non-violent! non-violent! “I’ve been here from—get away from me!” non-violent! non-violent! The man is furious but the mob is relentless with their chanting, with getting into his face and raising palms, with a thousand conciliatory gestures and requests to yo, yo, calm down. He’s red in the face, furious, but when he storms off he passes three more traffic cones – all left unmolested.

The crowd grows. Vans of armored police arrive and unload, stand with wide stances along the edge of the curb, forcing everyone shoulder to shoulder on the sidewalks. Each block is corralled like this: the roads no-walk zones guarded by tight, professional police formations. At my height, I can see over most the heads, to Zuccotti just a block or two away, but it’s all lights. Lights and heads. The police line begins to walk forward.

A white shirt officer says into a megaphone that all who refuse to leave this area will be placed under arrest.

For what, standing on a sidewalk?

A white shirt officer says into a megaphone that all who refuse to leave this area will be placed under arrest. A formation of new police arrivals step quickly behind him and start pushing into the crowd, shoulders forcing shoulders into an inch-by-inch retreat.

A young man in a suit yells, I just want to go to my apartment! That’s my apartment! He points to a building between us and Zuccotti. Someone suggests it might be time for him to occupy a hotel.

MIC CHECK. (MIC CHECK.)

MIC CHECK. (MIC CHECK.)

As block after block of protestors are slowly crammed into each other and onto sidewalks further from Zuccotti, a discussion about maybe going mobile arises; consensus is reached quite quickly, actually, owing to the sudden appearance of squad cars in the group’s sole remaining mode of egress. Someone yells City Hall! and the mob of protestors, now easily 500 strong, takes to the middle of the street, winding its way around stunned taxis and garbage trucks headed for the park. The first police helicopter arrives; for a moment, its glaring searchlight is positioned directly on me. I squint.

Off of the sidewalk and into the street!

WHO’S STREET? (OUR STREET)

My friend lights a cigarette. He nods his head behind me, to three lanky men clad in black with black bandanas already pulled over their face. Most of the protestors are comfortable enough disrupting traffic, but these three are clearly looking for something more; they walk with a spring in their step, and one of the Zuccotti medics has already become suspicious. Non-violent! he chants, and it echoes a few rounds, but the crowd is growing tense. The helicopter blades force people to raise their voice. We can see and hear the squad cars and vans speeding down the parallel streets.

Already, rumors are coming in from Zuccotti: people bike-chained themselves to the trees, so the cops cut the trees down; riot cops clad in black destroyed the thousands of books in the park’s library; news helicopters have been banished from following the march to City Hall, banned from the airspace in a grievous violation of freedom of the press – people are shouting this to each other, shouting our street! and offa the sidewalk! and we are the 99%! and join us! and shouting, shouting constantly as we near City Hall, the crowd very high-energy.

Anarchists in black start tossing the garden of traffic barricades spread out on the streets around City Hall. Garbage cans get tipped. And each time the same cycle:

  1. Black-masked protestor tips something over.
  2. Peaceful protestor runs and gets it, returns it to its rightful position.
  3. Black-masked protestor gets in peaceful protestor’s face.
  4. Mob surrounds masked protestor, chants non-violent!
  5. Black-masked protestor continues walking onward.
  6. Go to: 1)

Only once does the cycle lead to a confrontation, and again the ratio of peaceful protestors relative to the troublemakers is so skewed that any antisocial behavior is again quickly curbed. Which is good, because as the group approaches City Hall, it’s discovered that several rows of non-riot police officers are casually following behind the protestors, maybe a quarter-mile back. Other than the scramble outside Fulton station (and maybe the initial physical corralling of the protestors congregating on the sidewalk), the NYPD has appeared to take a laissez-faire approach – flanking the march but not intercepting it – yet all that could disappear on account of one particularly violent anarchist. Self-policing is high.

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  • macgyver51

    Sheez, you guys actually think you’re epic. Just a bunch of spoiled kids.

    • JJ

      How do you know if they are spoiled? It has nothing to do with epic, they have the right to protest, they used that right and if you are anywhere in the same economic strata as them or me or most middle or lower middle class people, then you should empathize. If you arent, why would it bother you anyway? Are you from NYC?

      • macgyver51

        Oooooh, so everyone in the same tax bracket is automatically connected. My bad, missed that part. This isn’t about how much you make, its about people with nothing better to do that have inflated egos. I don’t feel sorry for a bunch of migrants to the most expensive US city to live in the middle of a recession and then blame everyone else when that backfires in their face. Now they’ve spawned a whole movement of folks who blame all of their problems on anyone but themselves.

      • JJ

        I am not saying that every person involved is blameless or has their priorities straight. But i will say this Macgyver, i know SO MANY people with degreees, who have supported themselves and dont rely on mom and pop, who bust their asses and still cant find a job. It isnt their faul but you seem to thing they should point the finger in the mirror? And also how do you know if they moved here? People are from here and this is their home. And the issues they are upset about arent just New Yorks issues. In fact unemployment is rampant in dirt cheap places like Nevada and  Michigan, along with awful housing issues. The people(young, entitled people) in NYC are actually smart and have chosen not to buy a 4 bedroom house that is beyond what they can afford, they room with people and make do. Im sorry im rambling, but the lack of compassion or at least an attempt to understand what the intent of a lot of these people is,  is baffling. And this is coming from someone who has been on their own for years, who bought their state education with their own money, and is employed. And i still have compassion for them. Unbelievable.

      • macgyver51

        With the incoherent sentence structure and completely absurd ideas, I have to believe that you are simply kidding around with this post.

      • Asdf

        As opposed to pointless political trolling?

      • macgyver51

        Is that how it works? When someone doesn’t agree with you, they’re a troll? Awesome.

      • Asdf

        How do you know I disagree with you? No. Your abundance of generalizations, ad hominems, guilt by association arguments, on and on and on is what marks you as a troll in my eyes.

      • DS

        So the fact that corporations now count as people doesn’t bother you? A higher percentage of OWS is employed than of the Tea Party. Stop deflecting the issue and start acknowledging that the system isn’t perfect.

      • macgyver51

        Responding to all three of your sentences. 1-Thats not even relevant, or true. 2-I’ve seen that statistic floating around the internets as well. Maybe not from an actual source, but hey, everyone loves made up stats and hearsay. 3-We agree on the issue, but for some reason you think these fools are the solution. I have no idea why. The solution is realizing that we are still in a democracy, for now, educating oneself beyond the cute little Dem/Rep pony show that exists, and electing competent leaders. Not flippant baseball team owners from Texas and arrogant half term Senators straight from law school.

      • Guest

        Yes, and one of the greatest demonstrations of democracy in recent years, I believe, has been in the OWS movement. To feed, educate and provide medical attention to their own is impressive. But the education and voting systems in the general assembly is true democracy. Not relying on some old, morally corrupt white hair making empty promises so long as he gets bankrolled.

        We need a new party.
        We need to hold organizations accountable.
        We need to take care of our own. We’re one of the ONLY first world countries that does not provide education nor medical care to our people. Our education system is failing, as demonstrated by any idiot supporting Cain or Perry for leadership of anything, let alone a country.
        I truly believe we’re headed into a new dark ages, and OWS are the only people speaking up at all.

      • macgyver51

        There you, only name Republicans, while our president tries to spend his way out of debt. I hope you caught the lack of common sense and logic in that last part. Takes two to tango in our system and they have tangoed it into the ground. As for all of the things you have claimed OWS has done, BS. I’ve seen it in person, its none of those things. The “General Assembly” is laughable at best.The revolutionaries of 1776, the abolitionists, and memebers of the civil rights movements surely look on this and laugh. I would too, if they weren’t so sure of themselves while having absolutely no direction.

      • matt good

        The revolutionaries of 76, the abolitionists and the members of the civil rights movement were mocked and denigrated just like you are mocking and denigrating the occupy movement. You should open your mind and not speak so bitterly.

      • macgyver51

        Those movements believed in something. Thanks, I’ll get right on the mind opening. I’m glad you pointed that out to me.

      • Harlow

        Who let the republican in??

        I think the reason they’re protesting is they don’t have anything better to do. They can’t get jobs, they can’t go to school, they can’t afford homes, etc. – they’re protesting against the government and organizations that created the problems, preventing these people from having better things to do.

        And it’s a little presumptuous to think they all migrated in the middle of a recession; they could equally as well be natives, and further, many traveled from other states to show solidarity, as this is indeed a national problem.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1363230138 Michael Koh

        It’s past a red/blue issue. It affect ALL OF US.

      • macgyver51

        Hooray for giant comments of nothing! Thank you for calling me out on being presumptuous, because I meant every single person there.

    • Alexandra

      How is spending months outside in a park because you can’t get a job, get out of debt, or take advantage of your education being spoiled? This has been the only people have been able to get the government’s attention. “We are the people, so start caring about our needs” – you know? I don’t think asking our government to take care of its people is spoiled at all. I think it is American.

      • macgyver51

        Have you read our constitution or studied the principles on which our country was founded.?They wanted the opposite, in point of fact. They wanted the government to leave them alone, not hold their hands and fix their problems.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=511929890 Nicole Mullins

        And why would we give a government a wealth of tax dollars just to “leave us alone”?

      • macgyver51

        Hard to believe I know, but that wealth of tax dollars didn’t always exist. Government subsisted off what the people gave them and did its job in that regard. When hard economic times hit, people took care of people, not government.

      • matt good

        That is an absurd misinterpretation of the constitution and the federalist papers

      • macgyver51

        There were many that told the original writers of the Federalist Papers that they were absurd.

      • Asdf

        Difference of course being that you didn’t write the Federalist Papers.  But, hey, keep livin’ the delusion!

      • macgyver51

        Doesn’t really make any sense, but cool story bro. Keep those senseless one liners coming.

      • Asdf

        Thanks. I will. I do realize that it doesn’t make sense that you’d put yourself on equal footing to the authors of the Federalist Papers, but you did so nevertheless.

        Let me break it down for you: Matt Good asserted that your  interpretation of the Constitution and the Federalist Papers was absurd. In response you either deliberately or subconsciously drew parallels to the fact the authors of the Federalist Papers were labeled absurd.

        So either you’re claiming they, themselves, are absurd, so therefore your interpretation would be necessarily absurd; or that you’re being misunderstood in the same way they were. Either way, it’s a logical fallacy, and you didn’t address the assertion that your interpretation is perhaps flawed.

      • kaylee

        boom roasted

      • macgyver51

        Yep, thats what I love about my current and parallel generations, its all a show and a game to them. Go back to watching your Jon Stewart and believing that makes you well informed.

      • macgyver51

        It was merely a play on words, referencing one of Matt’s other statements. It wasn’t for you, it was actually meant to be lighthearted. Sorry for the confusion and the time you apparently spent in analysis.

        If you want direct argument then I will make the assertion that neither the spirit nor writers of the Constitution or Fed Papers would support an OWS style movement. Not that they favored tyranny, but the opposite, they favored common sense and standing up in an intelligent fashion. They would look at the system and probably agree that it needs work, but they would then get to work,  not stand around think that the fact that they have a library and stand side by side holding signs with clever sayings- are going to fix anything.

        They believed in drawing clear and researched conclusions about what needed to be done, and then they believed in acting upon it. At no point would any of them think about writing a story like this. They would tell you to swallow your damn pride, its not about you.

        Of course we haven’t even begun to broach the subject of homelessness that surrounds OWS. You have thousands of people going hungry and homeless in NYC alone and they’re completely ignored, if not merely patronized with a single hot meal or two. All the while we’ve got mock universities and General Assemblies being held. Its enough to make a person sick.

      • matt good

        Yeah, but those weren’t the ones who founded the United States, so your point is still moot

      • macgyver51

        Wait, Patrick Henry, Sam Adams, and Thomas Jefferson weren’t part of founding the United States? If thats what you think then this whole conversation might be moot.

      • matt good

        Sorry I’m Canadian, I forgot about those guys!

    • Anonymous

      Yeah, this guy knows where it’s at. The system isn’t fucked at all. Everything’s fine. JEEZ YOU GUYS, everyone knows first world problems aren’t actually problems!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1363230138 Michael Koh

      You really need to watch this: http://bit.ly/mHgb46

  • jorogotti

    great. never leave.

  • http://twitter.com/Ouleena Wf

    Amazing. Thoroughly enjoyed reading this article. WHOSE STREETS? OUR STREETS!

  • Sammy G

    File Under: Things I Really Don’t Care About.

    • RG

      Totally agree! Politics and current events? Pfff. Screw that, lay some articles about partying and sex on me!

      • http://www.nosexcity.com NoSexCity

        Ten of them, all of which talking about how tough our #firstworldproblems are… in the bedroom.

    • Asdf

      File Under: So Don’t Read It.

  • Guest

    this is amazing!!!! keep posting about this please!

  • http://profiles.google.com/courtneypickard Courtney Pickard

    A beakon of humor in a pretty serious piece. 

    “one which apparently causes unmarked police cars to hurl themselves at you at full speed, losing control and drifting Fast and Furious-style directly up onto the curb, narrowly avoidingkilling you dead and instead blasting through a garbage can, shattering the front headlights and scattering bundles of grimy New York trash across the road.”

    Loved it! Loved all of it, actually. Thanks for the eyewitness account. 

    • Anonymous

      You’re welcome! 

      Hopefully people can see this as merely an eyewitness report of last night’s events, as opposed to some sort of political statement. 

  • GUEST

    Ugh I can’t believe I took the time to read this. Good for NYPD.

    • Asdf

      Ugh I can’t believe I took time to respond to this. Good for Jack Cazir.

  • xxx

    This is the kind of article that informs and inspires. Thank you for posting this; you have told a truly amazing story.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jess.hurst1 Jess Hurst

    Excellent article; more eyewitness accounts would be great.

  • Deirdree_lynn

    Amazing article! Good for you. Good luck! This makes me want to go back so badly.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1363230138 Michael Koh

    It seems like the wealthiest men and women are essentially saying: “The poor are getting too independent…. We must teach them a lesson.” Essentially what Ida B. Wells had said, except she quoted white Southerners: “The Negroes are getting too independent…. We must teach them a lesson.”

    • Catt

      “The poor are getting too independent”? No, quite the contrary – OWS protesters are victimizing themselves, which I would argue is entirely the opposite.

  • Anonymous

    phlpn.es/7x9vmd

  • Maya

    Excellent article; thank you.

  • xx

    don’t wanna be a grammar troll, but “whose”

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