I speak today in solidarity with my brothers, with my sisters, with all the 99 percent and those who came before and those who are not yet born.
This evening near midnight I received a frantic text message from a fellow Kossack. It stated quite simply that Liberty or Zuccotti Park was being raided and cleared out by the police. Not wishing to believe what I was hearing I flipped on the live stream from Horace's diary and began putting my clothing on.
You take a night off from being sick and look what happens!
I rushed over to Astoria where myself and a fellow Kossack jumped on the subway - When we arrived in the city we found that the entire section of lower Manhattan had been blocked off. The police blocked at least six blocks around the entire park with metal gates. Following the livestreams we were able to see the cops destroying OWS property. They destroyed over 5000 books. My childhood copy of Treasure Island that I placed in there two weeks ago is gone forever. I only hope it found its way into the hands of another as it touched my life as a child.
They destroyed our tents - the kitchen workers huddled together in the center and were tear gassed as they used sonic weapons against protesters. They were arrested from what I heard at the General assembly.
All accounts are that the police kept all the media that they could out. Tim on the ground for TheOther99 has had his ustream feed up and it still should be going strong.
We navigated the metal jungle until we came across a group of protesters singing a ballad to the police. The cops stood stoic and many of them looked pained at having to be here for this dark day in American history. I can not find fault with all of them - only hope that one day they can look their children in the eyes and know what it is they have done in our name.
It was simple and the refrain was...
Next we decided that it was time to move on and try and reassemble with the other groups that had been displaced.
At this point my phone was dying and I could no longer check the updates so I took out our video camera and started recording what I saw. Word was being shouted that people were gathering at Foley Square.
A biker passed by us and waved us forward saying "Onward to Foley Square!"
We pressed on and walked another blocks or so before arrived at the square - by this time it was around three am.
A General Assembly had been called.
Occupy Wallstreet Holds General Assembly down at Foley Square.
We sat - we decided our course of action here. There were reports of people being arrested - of where we can get food, water, and use of a bathroom quickly - we spoke of the plans to meet at 9 am over on Canal and 6th ave with word that the Unions were coming in vast numbers. The conversation was going well till we had a welcome sight. Many of those who had been trying to get the the park had finally arrived and we greeted them as liberators and occupiers should be - with cheers and love.
The friends who arrived brought news that Mayor Bloomberg was holding a press conference at City Hall in a few hours. It was then decided we were going to go to City Hall so our voices could be heard. We proposed that we would Mic Check Mayor Bloomberg and decry what he was doing in our name and with our dollars.
It was assumed we would be arrested fairly quickly so instead of preparing a speech we settled on a phrase:
The voices of the people - can never be silenced.
With that sentiment in our hearts we decided to converge on City Hall. About forty or so of us left the General Assembly at Foley Square and began to march. When we arrived at City Hall I was not shocked to see the entire section closed to the public. Inside of the gates a huge swath of empty space stood, occupied by a few cops. The media at the time were being let through so we decided to link arms. We formed a human chain in front of city hall in an attempt to keep others out of the farce or a public meeting the mayor was conducting.
The police then began telling reporters quietly to go around the back - this was overheard and we split into two groups. I headed with the second group and we stood in front of the gate. The police confronted us after around five minutes of standing there. Vans filled with riot police pulled up in front of city hall. They gave us the option of standing aside or getting arrested.
We MIC checked that we would stand aside so we could join our brethren who were marching towards Canal and 6th ave.
We walked back around to the front of City Hall where we were greeting by a large thong of the 99 percent! The word was Mic Checked that it was time to head to Canal and 6th ave where there was a surprise for us. Needing some good news at this point I was happy to go along. We chanted the entire way - alternating from:
WE ARE THE 99 PERCENT!
WHO'S STREETS? OUR STREETS!! WHO'S COPS? OUR COPS!
SHOW ME WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE! THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE
Our march continued. We were escorted by a battalion of cops dressed in riot gear with the police shouting at anyone who even took one step off the sidewalk. Along the sides of the streets people cheered us - even some of the cops when I guess they felt no White Shirt was around. Around 9:15 am we reached Canal and 6th ave. It was there we were told to hold fort for a bit.
In this video one of the speakers tells us that the property we are on is owned by one of the local churches. Also that a judge has issued an injunction against the eviction of OWS. It is debated if we should go to the court, stay here, or march to Zuccotti.
By this point the crowd has swelled to several hundred - with people sitting on the fence. With news of the court injunction it was decided that we would return to Zuccotti and attempt to reclaim Liberty Park for our movement.
The lawyers from the lawyers guild advised us that if the police defied the court order and did not allow us to return then they would be in contempt of court.
A band of marchers left site and began forming a line outside with a banner in front and an American flag tied to bamboo poles. It took around 20 minutes to decide but we screamed now or never and proceeded to march on Liberty Park. What transpired next I will remember for the rest of my life. We walked a good distance - having to stop every block and regroup. My voice already raw from chanting took up many of the leading chants. I always knew attending all those concerts when I was a teenager would pay off.
At last we arrived back at Liberty Park which was surrounded by a sea of police. Several hundred officers in full riot gear, community jackets, plain cloths, and uniform cops consumed the area. What was once a center of peace had been turned into a war zone.
We held many copies of the injunction and began shouting (or at least I started it)
The cops ignored us and then opened one of the iron gates to allow us to walk through the middle of the barricade. This was a trap. As soon as several hundred of us reached the end the back was sealed and the police were starting to move in. We began chanting stronger that this was illegal and they were in violation of a court order. They did nothing - they did not react - they did not even attempt to speak to the lawyers. The NYPD has been bought and paid for by the corporations. I asked several officers with a voice filled with snark what story they will tell their children one day?
With no luck - trapped - and the police moving in we continued shouting:
THE WHOLE WORLD IS WATCHING!!!
It became clear there was no way out. A MIC CHECK went up that we should jump the barricade and get out - and that is exactly what we did. Forty of us stormed the side of the metal gates and jumped over, pulling our friends over and making sure no one got left behind. The cops stood by idle and I saw several officers get told to stop from moving in on those trying to get out. It was perhaps their only act of restraint for the day.
After escaping the pen they had marshaled us into we began to march around the park in full force.
It was beautiful.
The police look bored right?
We then proceeded to march - and march - and march around the square. Our voices lifted high we continued. I filmed some of the cops looking rather bored after I broke away from the main thong.
What I truly wanted to ask those cops is "Why are you occupying this park and what are your demands?
At this point my friend had to go to work and I wanted to return back to queens so I could get this story out to you folks. It has been a long night and I have hardly slept. I have to finish writing this and then head back into the city to meet up with MoT. No word yet on our course of action for the rest of the day.
I will be around for a bit to answer comments before I have to take off on the subway. I'd like to leave you with two videos from friday that I never got to post.
It is only class warfare when we fight back.
Goodluck and goodnight.