Like a shaken bottle of celebratory champagne, a mass of thousands of protestors and supporters bottlenecked and then flooded back into Zuccotti Park – affectionately dubbed ‘Liberty Park’ – after a NY City judge ruled against the Mayor’s injunction preventing their return. After a night of difficult confrontations between NYPD that began at midnight last night, Zuccotti Park’s iconic residents were swept out of their makeshift homes in Lower Manhattan for what was billed as a necessary cleaning of the space. However, after roughly 120 occupiers were arrested, their temporary housing removed and relegated to sanitation vehicles, and all other personal items forced from the space, NYPD officers (several dressed in riot gear) staunchly maintained their positions inside the park with new barricades preventing entry to any and everyone until late in the day.
Not to be superceded, the movement took to the streets, beginning a march from Canal St. and 6th Avenue that eventually spilled down into Broadway, and covered the entire street from Canal south until they reached within a few blocks of their objective. En route to their destination, the burgeoning crowd, carrying various flags and an enormous puppet of the statue of Liberty, chanted several of their now well known phrases: “We are the 99%!” “The people united will never be defeated!” and adding “We’re going home!” All along the street, supporters and onlookers cheered as the collective passed.
Nearer to the park, word came through to an organizer that lawyers for the movement would be meeting them at the entrance to Zuccotti as mediators between the marchers and the NYPD. However, at Broadway and Warren, a string of uniformed officers on scooters, led by one police commander with a bullhorn arrived and forced the protestors off the street – some forcefully, — onto the sidewalks. The several thousand marchers complied, and were met with barricades, more orders to keep the occupiers on the sidewalk, and corralling of the collective into the increasingly limited space at the corner of Liberty and Broadway as news and police helicopters hovered, and the NYPD’s TARU unit continued to record footage of the occupiers who maintained their peaceful protest until later in the day.
Meanwhile, just north of City Hall a press conference was being held in the park across from 60 Centre Street (where a judge was deciding on the case for the occupation) where representatives from State government, Union delegates, and even NYC Comptroller John Liu spoke to a crowd massed around the park’s fountain in anticipation of the court’s decision. “Whatever happens tonight at Zuccotti, they will not stop this movement,” said Liu. At approximately 3 pm, the decision came down from the court saying that protestors were to be allowed back into the park, though bereft of their previously ubiquitous camping gear and power generators. The movement lives on, though in its action to reclaim Zuccotti Park as a privately held public space, the unintentional externality will be that occupiers will now be using far more spaces to collect and express their frustrations rather than having the park being the focal point. For a planet-wide movement gaining momentum, supporters, and the initiative in political as well as economic discussions, that may have just been the impetus it needed to take wing and fly. As an organic organization, the Occupation has no defined leader, no specified list of demands (other than dissent against an econopolitical system they claim is wreaking havoc on the people) and now, no defined space. What they do have, however, is a collective idea. “…and ideas are bulletproof.”
In this ongoing game of human chess, the next move is destined to be a game changer.