The Brooklyn Ink Staff brings you live coverage from the county of Kings on round two of the nationally televised presidential debates.
Obama has won. The final election results for eight of the 13 swing counties we’ve been following have come out, and only one of the counties, Tuscarawas County, OH, swung away from the 2008 election. Here is a final look at this year’s election compared with the three previous.
The Brooklyn Ink is live-tweeting from around New York as the results of the election come in! Follow our reporters on twitter, search the hashtag #electionBK or check back in here for updates.
Reporter Marie Telling (@MarieTelling) will be with the NY Young Republicans Club at the Westin Grand Central, where they are planning a victory bash.
Matthew Vann (@MPVann) will be at Ceol Irish Pub in Cobble Hill with the Brooklyn Young Republicans.
Madeline Ross (@madelinekbr) will be at Cebu in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn following developments in a contested local race with Andrew Gounardes, who is challenging longtime Republican state senator Marty Golden.
Lauren Betesh (@laurenbetesh) will be lightening the mood from The Stand Comedy Club in Gramercy.
As Results Roll In…
Various election viewing parties across the boroughs are anxiously awaiting results. Here are some tweets from our reporters:
LIVE CHARTING: Current Election Results for three swing counties in Florida, via Politico’s Election Result numbers.
Gounardes v. Golden: An Intimate Look
Reporter Madeline Ross is spending the evening watching election results with someone with a very personal stake in the matter: Andrew Gounardes (D), who is facing off against incumbent State Senator Marty Golden (R) for the New York State Senate in the 22nd District.
The district includes Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Gerritsen Beach, Marine Park, as well as parts of Sheepshead Bay and Gravesend. The district includes areas affected by Hurricane Sandy and both candidates have been working to coordinate volunteer efforts in the past week.
And here is Gounardes declaring his candidacy:
With 50% for Obama, 49% for Romney and 13% of the vote still to be counted, Florida is really too close for comfort right now.
Take a look at how three Florida counties that we profiled in 13 Counties That May Decide The Presidential Election are faring: these were important swing counties that went to Bush in ’04 and Obama in ’08.
LIVE CHARTING: Current Election Results for Osceola County, FL, as of 10:04 p.m. via Politico’s Election Result numbers.
LIVE CHARTING: Current Election Results for Pinellas County, FL, as of 10:27 p.m. via Politico’s Election Result numbers.
LIVE CHARTING: Current Election Results for Hillsborough County, FL, as of 10:30 p.m. via Politico’s Election Result numbers.
To check out how other decisive counties in Colorado, Ohio, Wisconsin, and North Carolina are doing, visit our other LIVE BLOG: Election Day in the Swing Counties.
LIVE CHARTING: Current Election Results for Hillsborough County, FL, via Politico’s Election Result numbers.
LIVE CHARTING: Current Election Results for Pinellas County, FL, via Politico’s Election Result numbers.
LIVE CHARTING: Current Election Results for Cumberland County, NC, via Politico’s Election Result numbers.
LIVE CHARTING: Current Election Results for Wake County, NC, via Politico’s Election Result numbers.
LIVE CHARTING: Current Election Results for Osceola County, FL, via Politico’s Election Result numbers.
LIVE CHARTING: Current Election Results for Jefferson County, CO, via Politico’s Election Result numbers.
Matthew Vann of The Brooklyn Ink caught up with Glenn Nocera, president of the Brooklyn Young Republican Club, to chat about the progression of election night. Nocera claims not to worry about the exit polls that favored Obama. He remains weary, but hopeful. Listen to the interview below.
LIVE CHARTING: Current Election Results for Hamilton County, OH, via Politico’s Election Result numbers.
An update from The Week via AP puts Romney ahead of Obama by 30 votes. However, several key swing states are still in play including Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin, Virginia and Pennsylvania.
As polls continue to close and final results are released, The Brooklyn Ink staff observes crowd responses throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Most cheer for states Obama wins…Romney supporters like Melanie Greene stay silent for “fear of being lynched” #electionbk
— Jonathan Wiener (@JWiener87) November 7, 2012
— Marie Telling (@MarieTelling) November 7, 2012
— Matthew Vann (@MPVann) November 7, 2012
Voters Persist Despite Sandy
Despite Hurricane Sandy’s continuing aftereffects, voters in New York and New Jersey made a strong showing at the polls, a CBS News article says.
While some areas like Hoboken are still reeling from flooding, many residents braved hours-long lines to have their vote counted. Dozens of polling sites had to be relocated or merged with others due to storm wreckage, and there was widespread confusion about locations amongst both voters and poll workers.
To make things easier for Sandy-affected voters, Gov. Cuomo issued an executive order yesterday allowing people to cast a provisional ballot at any New York State polling site. Though these residents weren’t able to vote in local races, at least their opinion on the federal and state elections will be heard.
Bloomberg is updating this interactive graphic as results are released. The dark red and dark blue states show final results, the lighter colored states refer to estimations based on exit polls. Check the map as the night progresses to watch the color spread.
Polls have closed in Ohio, but results have not yet been released. As Business Insider reports, Ohio has lot of power tonight and may ultimately hold the deciding electoral vote. Romney needs the state’s support to survive and Obama needs it to win. Highlighted above are the regions to watch.
Waiting around anxiously for your candidate’s results to come in? Break up the tension with some humorous, out-of-the-box data visualization by Binders Full of Burgers. A creative way of looking at election numbers through, of all things, fast food.
Earlier in the day we were following the 13 Counties That May Decide The Presidential Election. Now we’re switching over to local coverage from venues all over New York as the results of the election come in.
According to an AP news report, Obama won Vermont and Romney won Kentucky. That makes 11 electoral votes accounted for, and 270 are needed to win. Results are not yet in for contentious swing states, Ohio, Florida and Virginia. Stay tuned!
For more of The Brooklyn Ink’s live coverage and aggregation, follow “Live Blog: Praying for Victory” on our site.
Alex Triantafilou, chairman of the Hamilton County Republican Party in Ohio, says that the race is going “to be very close in this county.”
President Obama won Hamilton County in 2008, so the Republican Party has “a lot of ground to make up in a county that is demographically trending for the Democrats,” says Triantafilou. But there has been “heavy turnout, especially in Republican neighborhoods,” he says, adding that there are still long lines all over the county.
Letitia E. Gaillard is still hard at work in Jefferson County, CO.
“It’s a tough time for both parties, really close race for us here, but we are doing our best to get the volunteers out,” says Gaillard, adding that the volunteers are working to get as much done as possible before polls close at 7 p.m. tonight.
Gaillard says that some people in Jefferson County received postcards that listed the wrong locations for their polling stations. “People were getting really confused, but we were able to sort it out. No one knows who sent them at all.”
A power outage in Hillsborough County, FL, according to Bay News 9:
Hillsborough Suoervisor of elections says “operations are continuing”- voters being allowed inside
— Bay News 9 (@BN9) November 6, 2012
Power is partially out at Hillsborough Supervisor of Elections Office twitter.com/BN9/status/265…
— Bay News 9 (@BN9) November 6, 2012
Eve Munro is a volunteer with the Hamilton County, OH Democratic Party. There were 31 people in line at the Norwood voting location at 3:30 p.m., “which is very, very good for us to have something like that at 3:30,” says Munro.
Munro says that turnout has been high all day. “We are going to have our victory party tonight. We are looking forward to that,” she says.
Chester County, PA resident Kenneth Collins, who is Chief Executive Officer of Susquehanna Commercial Finance, Inc., voted around noon today, when there was no line, he says, but there was a long line when he drove past in the morning.
“The volunteers were friendly and efficient. This particular voting place is mostly republican base,” says Collins.
Valerie Jester from Chester County, PA voted around 9 a.m. this morning. She says “the voter turnout was strong” and that “everyone at my polling place was smiling and the mood seemed to be very upbeat,” more upbeat than she has every seen before.
“When everyone feels that their vote may truly make a difference, the importance of the act becomes much greater and significant for the voter,” says Jester.
Even though the day has been high in spirits, Jester is glad it is coming to a close. “This has been a very long campaign, one that I am happy to have behind us,” she said.
Wake County, NC voters show off their post-voting stickers:
— Brent & Anna (@liveviewstudios) November 6, 2012
I made a difference today… What did you do? @ Wake County Southern Regional Center instagr.am/p/RsuxthSpFQ/
— Matt Huffman (@c0zy_mittenz) November 6, 2012
Tori Goodrich from Chester County, PA voted early this morning. There were only about 30 people in front of her, but by the time she left at 7:20 a.m. there were almost 100 people lined up. “People in line were excited that we had three brand new voters in our line,” says Goodrich.
Even though it is such an important swing county, Goodrich says she saw very little campaigning in Chester County recently. “I really didn’t see that many people campaigning in this area, at the schools, or out shaking hands, or being that accessible, which was frustrating for me.” Despite that, she is “thrilled” to have a say as a voter in such an important swing county.
After misinformation about how much time voters would have to place ballots, some more concerns out of Pinellas County, FL. There have been some power outages from a storm in the county, but no impediment on the voting process: Tampa Bay Times reports:
— Donna Brazile (@donnabrazile) November 6, 2012
William Gillis, chairman of the Cumberland County, NC Republican Party said that voter turnout at the local precincts is “very charged” and there are “energetic groups of supporters.”
Gillis says that the Cumberland County Republican Party has greeters at all 77 of the county’s precincts. The county is mostly blue and though Gillis expects it to go to President Obama, he says that there “won’t be nearly as many votes toward Obama as there was last time” in 2008.
In the office there are are a dozen volunteers making calls to registered Republicans who haven’t yet voted.
Photos from voting spots in Osceola County, FL from @anedka:
— Aned(@anedka) November 6, 2012
— Aned(@anedka) November 6, 2012
Big mistake in one of the 13: Pinellas County, FL. Some voters told they had until 7 p.m. on Wednesday to place ballots.
Naked Politics, a blog by the Miami Herald, reports:
Not a good start in Pinellas County on Election Day: ST. PETERSBURG – An hour after polls opened today, the Pine… bit.ly/RRc1kI
— Mary Ellen Klas (@MaryEllenKlas) November 6, 2012
Letitia E. Gaillard, who works at Organizing for America, says that turnout in Arvada, CO in Jefferson County, one of the 13 swing counties, is seeing some “very busy” voter attendance. “Coloradans stick together. Democrats and Republicans have a lot of turnout for volunteers.” Gaillard thinks the vote will go to Obama. She is offering her help to voters who don’t know where to head today.
@sierra_club Colorado if you need help with finding your polling place and getting there Call me my office will help you (702) 443-1726
— Letitia E. Gaillard (@Yellowstone32) November 6, 2012
Arapahoe County, CO is waiting patiently to vote:
— Ashley Wheeland (@amwheeland) November 6, 2012
Cup of coffee while waiting to vote. Since I procrastinated on sending i @ Arapahoe County Election Facility instagr.am/p/RsbE_gkKov/
— Lara (@eljaybay) November 6, 2012
— Mary Jo Brooks (@MaryJoBrooks) November 6, 2012
Brian Gracely voted in Wake County, NC during a calm hour at the polls. After all the controversy about IDs on election day, he didn’t even have to show any, he says. “Seemed like quite a bit of buzz about nothing. We didn’t have to show any ID; just validate a name and address.”
Nobody asked for ID in Wake County, just name + address verification. Suppose I could have voted for my neighbors too.
— Brian Gracely (@bgracely) November 6, 2012
Short lines in the Democratic leaning Chester County, PA, says Tom Sunnergren with Patch.com in Phoenixville.
“Everyone is feeling more or less satisfied with the turnout,” says Sunnergren, who hasn’t seen any long lines at any of the four voting locations he’s visited. About 30 to 40 people waiting to vote. The turnout is better than previously expected.
Early morning voting booths are open, but aren’t crowded yet in Cumberland County, NC, says Kelly Twedell, a local editor at Patch.com in Fort Bragg.
There was a large turnout for early voting on Saturday, “much higher than in previous years,” Twedell says. How is Cumberland County going to vote? Only time will tell, but Twedell says “I think we’ll vote more conservatively this time around than in the past.”
Flooding Forces Gerritsen Beach Residents to Evacuate
Locals in the low-lying south Brooklyn neighborhood of Gerritsen Beach, a non-mandatory zone B evacuation area, are angry they didn’t receive a mandatory evacuation order from the city.
Red Hook resident describes getting through Hurricane Sandy
Alyce Erdekian lives in a third-floor walkup in Red Hook, Brooklyn. In a phone interview with The Brooklyn Ink, she describes how she got through Hurricane Sandy in her neighborhood as it flooded. This video includes photos that were tweeted by Erdekian herself @aaerdek and Lindsay Meeks @LinzMeeks
Reactions from Around Town
Jonah Gollub spent last night Sandy Watching in the Bronx.
Hell’s Kitchen local, Glenn Raucher, was one of many cleaning up debris left by the storm. Here he is clearing up a garden by Pier 84.
Amanda Gomez is a Battery Park evacuee, staying by 42nd Street and the West Side Highway since Sunday night.
CLEANING UP AFTER SANDY
New York City spent Tuesday after the storm pulling itself back together. Here’s what was happening in the city throughout the day.
“Construction works collapse on 135th st.” @ellielsma reports. http://vimeo.com/52492210
SANDY: DEALING WITH THE AFTERMATH
As the storm leaves the New York metro area, residents and responders are confronted with the reality of having to clean up what Sandy left behind. Here are the latest tweets from around New York City.
BROOKLYN, MEET SANDY: TWEETING THE STORM
The twittersphere was ablaze last night with commentary from the storm. Here is a curated feed from our reporters of what was going on in Brooklyn in the midst of the hurricane.
Want some Brooklyn insights on tonight’s big fight? Follow our reporters on Twitter at #DebateBK.
Here are our live bloggers:
Jennifer Dev @Jen_Dev from Brooklyn College campus.
Matthew Vann @MPVann at NYC Councilman Jumaane Williams’ at Vivid Cafe in East Flatbush.
Jonathan Wiener @JWiener87 and Anirvan Ghosh @AnirvanGhosh from the local NY chapter of Drinking Liberally.
Jie Jenny Zou @JieJennyZou from Afropunk‘s viewing party in downtown BK.
Madeline Ross @Madelinekbr at the Metropolitan Republican Club‘s debate viewing.
Tabitha Wood @tabithapeyton from Bedford-Stuyvestant.
Roxy Kirshenbaum @roxykirsh and Keira Lu Huang @keiralulu from Brooklyn for Barack‘s viewing party.
Aya Watanabe @AyainEnglish from Neighbors Allied for Good Growth’s viewing party.
Looking to satisfy your urge for pre-debate coverage:
- Real Clear Politics has a great breakdown of polling data showing how tight the race is before tonight’s debate. Obama and Romney are within the margin of error in 8 of the 9 swing states.
- NBC News has an analysis of each candidates’ expectations and goals going into the debate tonight.
- Fox News has an examination of the role women will play in the debate and the general election.
- CNN looks at what is at stake in tonight’s debate.
- ABC News gives a brief background of both candidates.
- The New York Times provides a macro lens by illustrating how states have shifted between Democrat and Republican over the last 60 years.
- The LA Times shows how Obama will build a case for his economic policies.
- CFO has a guide for the debate concerning what small business owners want to hear tonight.
The debate is only two hours away, be sure to follow #debatebk for live coverage on Brooklyn’s impressions of the debate!
CNN’s Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley is moderating tonight’s presidential town hall debate at Hofstra University on Long Island. Crowley went on CNN’s “The Situation Room” yesterday to talk about the debate. TV Newser reports that both the Obama and Romney campaigns complained about Crowley because of remarks she made to Wolf Blitzer saying she is likely to ask followups.
“There will be questioners to the right and left of me and in front of the candidates,” Crowley said. “And they will have the questions. And as was the case in the Charlie Gibson town hall meeting and the Tom Brokaw town hall meeting in Presidential campaigns past, there is a time after that for follow-up and for furthering the discussion.”
By Jenny Zou
Some Brooklynites are citing disillusionment with the candidates, the debates, or both.
Townhall Debate Pre-Game Worries
By Matthew Vann @MPVann
Matthew Griffith paused long enough while walking into work this morning at the Atlantic Terminal Mall to say that tonight’s debate will be a make or break for President Obama’s reelection bid.
“He can’t back down like last time,” said Griffith, 25, of the president’s last debate performance. “Obama needs to speak more to the people and present himself like he did in 2008. He needs to be a lot more honest and true than the typical politician.”
A Reuters/Ipsos online poll shows Romney narrowing in on a small lead by Obama. The president leads Romney by two percentage points, with 47 percent support from likely voters to 45 percent for Mitt Romney.
Several Brooklynites the Ink spoke with agree that both Romney and Obama need to do even better in order to remain viable candidates in the final three weeks running up to the election.
“I’d tell him [Romney] to be just as aggressive as he was last time and give more specific details about his tax plan,” said Hina Qureshi, a Brooklyn Law School student. “He needs to go in depth.”
Mitchell Harper, 47, an Obama supporter from Bed-Stuy, says he hopes the president isn’t as deferential as he was at the last debate.
“Obama was clearly acting like he didn’t want to be there,” said Harper co-owner of the Bed-Stuy Fish Fry restaurant. “He’s too soft. He has to be more aggressive.”
Harper had this advice for the president: “If you don’t wanna be defeated, bring your A-game.”
The Harvard Gazette interviewed four performance experts and gathered their tips for the candidates before their second debate tonight.
Marie Danziger, a specialist in public speaking, thought Barack Obama appeared “a little bit nerdy and undergraduate” during the first debate. “It makes the debate look like a tough academic exercise rather than an enjoyable exercise of democratic deliberation,” she said. She advised him to act like he is enjoying the debate tonight.
Among the other tips to the President, Nancy Houfek, a vocal coach, encouraged him to play a warm-up basketball match to get him in the right frame of mind before the real game with Romney tonight.
As for Mitt Romney, the best he can do, according to the experts, is to keep the same debate coach he has used throughout and to not be too aggressive.
Read more tips here.
If you want to follow the debate with Donald Trump tonight, he will be on Twitter.
I turned down going to the debate tonight so that I could do live tweets to my many followers.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 16, 2012
Chuck Todd interviewed members from both teams this morning on his MSNBC show, “The Daily Rundown”. Both sides are pilling on the pressure as the countdown to the debate begins.
Democratic Senator Charles Schumer from New York defended Barack Obama. “He is a winner,” he said about the President, “he is analyzing what he did wrong and then he’s going to make sure he does it right this time.”
Republican Representative Jason Chaffetz, from Utah, spoke about Mitt Romney and talked about Barack Obama’s performance during the first debate. “Obviously, President Obama is going to do better than he did last time,” he said, “he couldn’t do any worse than he did last time.”
Still looking for a venue to join in on tonight’s debate? Here are some of the viewing parties where you can find the Brooklyn Ink staff.
View Brooklyn Debate Viewing Parties in a larger map
Countdown to the Showdown
By Iris Mansour
The second Presidential debate takes place tonight at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. and the stakes – and tension – could not be higher.
President Obama has seen his polling advantages decline in the wake of a lackluster performance in the first debate at Denver, and Mitt Romney, whose campaign appeared to be heading toward defeat, has been surging. National polls have the race as a virtual tie.
Last week we covered the Vice Presidential debate from several Brooklyn viewing venues, with live dispatches as Vice President Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan fought it out in a far more spirited encounter.
But that was, in boxing parlance, the undercard. The main event, Round 2, begins at 9pm tonight. We´ll be there, live. But we´ll also be monitoring the mood across the borough and on what is shaping up to the biggest night of political theater in years.
We began by capturing the mood in two very different neighborhoods last night, first asking people who they were backing and what advice they might want to offer their candidate.
First stop: the Park Slope Co-op, home of all things organic and liberal.
Eva Bogaisky, who was shopping with her son, didn’t think that the president’s performance in Denver was terrible, but, she added, “it seemed like it was a drag and he didn’t want to be there.”
She’d prescribe the President a dose of “vigor” and would suggest he acts more like a leader than an intellectual.
Jolene Collins was more direct. She’d tell Obama to “say what he needs to say like Joe Biden did.” The President, she said, needs some “oomph” and “energy,” adding that “he just seemed really sleepy”.
There were a surprising number of people, like Mike Belcher, who weren’t quite ready to pass judgment before hearing the debate. Although he’s leaning towards Obama, Belcher didn’t come down strongly for either candidate, preferring to hear their answers before making a choice.
“I don’t feel totally in line with one or the other,” he said “I can’t relate to them at all. It’s hard, they’re not real people. Their lives aren’t really real.
Still, he advised both candidates to “just try to take a chance, have your own identity and be a real person.”
Next stop was Bay Ridge, represented in Congress by Mike Grimm, a Republican and Tea Party favorite. There we met Joe Ritter, another undecided voter. “It’s open,” he said, “like both candidates have their ups and their downs. On some issues I like both sides.”
Jonathan Dennehy, meanwhile, seemed a political outlier in this Republican corner of what is a very Democratic borough.
“Mitt Romney is kind of the devil incarnate, so I don’t really see many options,” he said. He’d ask the President Obama to tax the rich and “to equalize things in this horrible, horrible world we live in.”
We´ll be back throughout the day with updates from the field by our reporters, while keeping an eye and ear out, too, for your comments.
Follow us here, or on twitter at #DebateBK.
Here are our live bloggers:
Jennifer Dev @Jen_Dev is live tweeting from Brooklyn College campus.
Matthew Vann @MPVann will be at a viewing party at NYC Councilman Jumaane Williams’ at Vivid Cafe in East Flatbush.
Jonathan Wiener @JWiener87 and Anirvan Ghosh @AnirvanGhosh will be updating us from the local NY chapter of Drinking Liberally.
Jie Jenny Zou @JieJennyZou will be tweeting from Afropunk‘s viewing party in downtown BK.
Madeline Ross @Madelinekbr will be at the Metropolitan Republican Club‘s debate viewing.
Tabitha Wood @tabithapeyton has the latest from Bedford-Stuyvestant.
Roxy Kirshenbaum @roxykirsh and Keira Lu Huang @keiralulu will be tweeting live from Brooklyn for Barack‘s viewing party.
Aya Watanabe @AyainEnglish has the latest from Neighbors Allied for Good Growth’s viewing party.
Ravi Kumar spent the morning around Zuccotti Park and tells us about it:
“Reporters and police had descended on Zuccotti Park at dawn. The park was barricaded and there was only one entry point. I entered the park through a small passage between the two barricades. Inside the park, one protester started a “mic check.” The speaker was a young man who asked those in the park to write down on their hands the phone number for an association of lawyers whom they could call if they were arrested. A woman from Astoria wrote down the number. She had arrived just before 6 in the morning having brought rolls for the protesters. She said she wants to protest but did not want to get arrested. A speaker asked protesters to move across the street where, Jason Eppink from Long Island was distributing bread. There were roughly 300 protesters and police were making sure that no one is standing on the roadway. The police presence suddenly increased. A speaker announced that the march to Wall Street would start within few minutes. Protesters were chanting “All day, all week, Occupy Wall Street.” Behind me protesters were chanting, “Put away the riot gear. I don’t see riot here.” Protesters were hugging and clapping. Some were drumming. A man in suit held a sign that read “ Harvard Men for Economic Justice.” The space between the Bank of America and Brown Brothers Harriman was filled by now. Protesters were starting to march towards 40 Wall Street where a man approached a group of reporters and shouted “Media, get out of the way.” Protesters then started to march towards Hanover Street. People were dancing and chanting. A young woman climbed on a man’s shoulders and announced that the protesters should separate into groups. She asked 100 protesters to branch out and occupy another block. A group of police officers asked a protester to stop. They smiled at him and took pictures of his sign. It read “ Bacon, Egg, Cheese Revolution.” The cops laughed as the man walked away. Protesters sat down in the street and a speaker announced that they had occupied the block. Then they started to chant, “How do we end the deficit? End the war and tax the rich’.”
While Occupy Wall Street protestors miss their original kitchen, Andrew Katz finds a new makeshift kitchen being made in the park:
There’s food once again in the park. A bunch of pizzas were delivered and handed out and many eager, hungry protestors grabbed a slice. Elsewhere in the park, a man drops off a black garbage bag filled with various cereals, drinks and cups. “I’m dropping this bag here and it’s for all of you,” he said. “I’m not responsible for what happens to it, but enjoy.” He clears a few members of the press from a table and starts setting up for the others to take. It’s not quite the kitchen they had, but they’ll take what they can get.
Anna Hiatt says protestors are heading back to Zuccotti Park:
“I think everyone’s arrested out,” says a protester in the crowd. The police briefly allowed protesters to walk in the street as they headed back to Zuccotti Park. The police weren’t making anymore arrests, at least among the protesters who had been demonstrating at Beaver and William streets. Chants of “We are the 99 percent” still ring in the streets, but the mood is less tense. They’re headed back to Zuccotti for a “victory celebration.”
Hiten Samtani took these snapshots at various points through the march, including across Zuccotti Park, at the corner of Pine and Nassau, and at 100 Broadway:
Andrew Katz reports on the scene at Zuccotti Park:
Hundreds of protestors arrive back at a largely empty Zuccotti Park chanting “Whose park? Our park.” A photographer breaks the barricade along Broadway and officers push him back, scolding him. A woman nearby screams, “Don’t push him!” to which the officer replies, “Wah,” mimicking a baby.
The sidewalks are getting crowded and officers are attempting to keep the protestors moving to avoid congestion. One passerby, an elderly man in a black leather jacket and green cargo pants, says, “This is not the country I grew up in.”
Hiten Samtani reports on the scene from 100 Broadway:
About two dozen officers have lined up by the walls at 100 Broadway, checking IDs of people working here. They have huddled up to keep an eye on what’s going on at Pine-Nassau.
The chants are getting louder, with some people climbing up on each other’s shoulders to scream, “Whose streets? Our streets!”
The police make an announcement via loudspeaker: “You don’t have a parade permit. Please clear these grounds for your own safety.”
Meanwhile, around the world, other occupy movements are taking place:
– In London, protesters have been given until 6 p.m. (GMT) to evacuate St Paul’s churchyard, which they’ve been occupying since Oct. 15. After that, demonstrators will have to negotiate with the City of London or they risk being taken to court. For more, click here.
– In Paris on Tuesday, protesters were made to leave the capital’s financial district La Defense, occupied since Nov. 4. Wednesday, they moved back in to rebuild the camp. For more, click here.
– In Madrid, a large demonstration against unemployment joined the protesters gathered in Puerta Del Sol plaza. Demonstrators have gathered there to protest against Spain’s economic situation since May. For more, click here.
– In Rome, more than a week after Silvio Berlusconi stepped down, protesters have been occupying Piazza Santa Croce in Gerusalemme. They held a general assembly on Monday, however their movement has not been as burgeoning as other European capitals. Last month, their movement was hijacked by anarchists. For more, click here.
For photos of other occupy movements around the U.S., click here.
The tension among demonstrators is escalating. Andrew Katz, who has witnessed several arrests, sent in this report:
“A woman called 911 because she got a text from someone arrested inside the van who said her circulation was being cut off by the plastic handcuffs. Her friend is screaming at NYPD to help her. Officer Gordon says ‘that’s what happens when you get handcuffed.’ She called 911.
At Pine and Broadway, the protestors who sat down and later surrounded by police were arrested. Many women, including a 16-year-old girl from California, was among them. Most were handled a bit roughly. Belongings are piled in the middle of the intersection. About 300 protestors are waiting to see what will happen next. The tension is escalating.”
The demonstrators are declaring that they have “Occupied Wall Street.” This is what our reporters can see:
“Eight cops have their backs to me, while three face me. A man in striped black pants and a dress shirt is blowing a small gold trumpet. He’s in sync with the chant that’s building, reminding the protestors that they are ‘are unstoppable, another world is possible.’ People take pictures of each other across the street. ‘Lizzie!’ screams a bearded man wearing a pink hoodie.
‘My mom took me at 4 years old to march for anti-abortion rights in DC. So this is in my blood’ says man drumming on a steel mug.
The crowd’s energy seems to go in waves. “I think my favorite is the really bored looking cops. ‘Man I put in fuckin o/t for this?'” says a man standing on the sidewalk.
Four tall cops with helmets on are watching the action, or lack of it. They’re joking amongst themselves, and with the odd protestor. One cops holds his baton firmly, but he’s mainly using it to tap other officers while grinning.”
“The protesters are marching through the streets of downtown. The front of the protest is reaching Wall and Pearl Streets right now and a marcher holding a sign that says ‘wake up’ directs traffic to the right and onto Wall Street. Theprotesters have left the sidewalks and taken to the streets blocking traffic. Cabs are at a stand still. And the protesters march on.”
“Protestors have sat down at the intersection of Pine and William Streets. They’re surrounded by police, who are also working to keep other protestors and press on the sidewalks. Officers are in riot gear and protestors scream ‘Put away your riot gear. We don’t see no riot here.'”
“The protesters are separating into separate groups to go to separate intersections. They are declaring that they have finally ‘Occupied Wall Street'”
Our reporter Ravi Kumar describes the scene:
“150 protesters are now sitting down on the road at the intersection of William St. and Exchange Square. They are surrounded on all sides by NYPD barricades. They’re chanting ‘How do we end the deficit? End the war and tax the rich’.”
Adam Gabbatt from the Guardian tweets this:
Andrew Katz has been down there since 6 a.m., here is what he’s seen so far:
“It was still pitch black outside at 6 a.m. and Zuccotti Park and the only lights were car headlights and the in-ground lights at the park. Officers were screening everyone who went inside Zuccotti and there weren’t many people there. We walked to the New York Stock Exchange and see how police were preparing for the expected crowd. At the intersection of Exchange Place and Broadway, we were barred entry because “press isn’t allowed down there,” an officer told me. The area was filled with police, most on foot but some on horseback. The barricades are up and the press is gathering. No sign of protestors yet as the morning sky lightens up. It’s only a matter of time.”
Our Anna Hiatt reports that the crowd is moving to Broadway and Cedar:
For those of you joining us today, here is a summary of events up to this point to get you up to speed:
– The Occupy Wall Street movement began on 17 September, exactly two months ago today.
– The demonstration began following a call to action by Adbusters, the Canadian activist group. They sent out an email to their listserver proposing a peaceful demonstration in New York’s Financial District.
– On 17 September, around 1000 people marched down Wall Street and the surrounding area. At this point, there was little media traction on the issue.
– On 1 October, the protestors marched across the Brooklyn Bridge, where police arrested over 700 people, including journalists. At this point, the media began to take notice.
– The protest’s slogan is, “We are the 99%.” The demonstrators say they stand against the “corrosive power of major banks and multinational corporations over the democratic process, and the role of Wall Street in creating an economic collapse that has caused the greatest recession in generations.”
– Three weeks after the protest started in New York, similar demonstrations took place across cities all over the world, including London, Rome, San Francisco, Frankfurt and Sydney.
– On 15 October, a rally on Times Square took place. More arrests were made.
– Demonstrators continued to occupy Zuccotti Park, a privately-held space, as their campsite.
– In the early hours of Tuesday morning this week, police evicted protestors from Zuccotti Park.
– A judge issued a restraining order against the eviction and the city was asked to show cause for the eviction.
– A second judge ruled that although the protests could continue, people would no longer be allowed to bring tents to Zuccotti Park, a move that would ostensibly end overnight occupations when the temperature falls.
– The eviction has brought the movement further into the media spotlight and has galvanized the protestors.
– Police made over 200 arrests on Tuesday, including more journalists.
– The movement plans to attempt to disrupt the ringing of the Trading Bell at the New York Stock Exchange on the morning of 17 November.
The press is already being asked to move away from NYSE as tweets Andrew Katz:
On Tuesday, the press was denied access to Zuccotti Park. Looks like the area is already cordoned off today:
The Occupy Wall Street NYC movement have published a Statement of Autonomy, passed at their General Assembly.
“We acknowledge the existence of professional activists who work to make our world a better place. If you are representing, or being compensated by an independent source while participating in our process, please disclose your affiliation at the outset. Those seeking to capitalize on this movement or undermine it by appropriating its message or symbols are not a part of Occupy Wall Street.”
Good morning Brooklyn, New York and beyond.
The Occupy Wall Street movement is meeting at 7am at Liberty Plaza in an attempt to disrupt the New York Stock Exchange.
It’s been an eventful day for the Occupy Wall Street movement, and for the city. Through a surprise early morning eviction, scores of arrests, a courtroom drama, and a tent-less return to Zuccotti Park, protestors have responded with replenished zeal.
The Ink’s been with the movement every step of the way. We dispatched reporters to various scenes of the protest over the last 24 hours, and have covered the drama from Zuccotti Park, Foley Square, the courthouse, and King’s County.
This was our first live blog, and it’s been an exhilarating experience. We hope you’ve found our coverage useful and interesting. We’d love to hear your thoughts, tweets, and tweeted thoughts. Reach us by email: email@example.com or on twitter: @thebrooklynink
This is Hiten Samtani, on behalf of The Brooklyn Ink staff, signing off.
Andrew Katz was on the scene between noon and 5 p.m., trying to understand the mood as protestors returned to Zuccotti Park.
Nine-to-fivers were heading back from their day jobs and were gawking
at what was happening. The former occupiers of Zuccotti Park were
being let back into their home of the past two months, and for most,
it was unrecognizable. No kitchen, media tent or medical station. No
clothing store, sanitation hub or library, either. Just plenty of
slate, in-ground lights and trees that haven’t yet lost their golden
leaves. And the nearly 75 New York Police Department officers who were
gradually letting in a single-file line of occupiers, journalists and
protestors to once again move about within the confines of the park.
Read Katz’s afternoon dispatch in full here.
Ink reporter Ravi Kumar joined Hiatt at 6:30 a.m.
Around 7 a.m., I saw a young girl waking up. She was sleeping on the bare ground using a bag of her clothing as a pillow. I heard her conversation in fragments. She started to speak to the person next to her and I heard the word: revolution. I moved closer to her. She was asking in a concerned voice if her friend had been arrested.
Anna Hiatt was at the park during the witching hours, just before police started making arrests.
Our itch to get a story had turned into impatience, which had turned into rage. We were members of the press, after all. And the park was right there. We had heard the police helicopters overhead and seen the soon-to-be-full paddy wagons driving toward the park. But Zuccotti was just beyond our reach.
Joey Maestas has an update from Zuccotti Park.
Things seem less tense now. Police are no longer checking bags and are letting people in. Protestors are free to roam, but officers are adamant that no one should be sitting on the walls at the north end of the park. The “people’s mic” is in effect.
Litkick explains how the “people’s mic” works:
A speaker says a few words in a normal voice, no more than half a sentence at a time. The speaker will then pause while many people sitting nearby will repeat the same words together loudly, thus amplifying the speaker. Next, the facilitator explained, those sitting at the far edges of the circle will repeat the same words again, to let the speaker and facilitators know that they are being heard clearly by everyone in the group.
GOOD magazine’s Cord Jefferson has an insightful piece on why the eviction of Zuccotti Park is a blessing in disguise for the OWS movement. Jefferson said that the eviction rejuvenated the movement by turning the media spotlight back on protestors, reinforcing the peaceful image of the movement, and by “wiping the slate clean.”
Do check out the full story on GOOD. A highly recommended read.
Joey Maestas reports that the sidewalk outside the park was packed. Over 1,500 people gathered to add their voices to the movement. The police had established checkpoints at many points outside the park, and were adamant that no one could bring any food in.
Once people were inside the park, the police made sure people didn’t linger on the sidewalk. Officers are scattered throughout the park.
Justin from the OWS media team was shepherding people towards the east side of the park for the general assembly, which involved the crowd chanting an oath: “We are the 99%, and we’re here to stay.”
Olivia Waxman has a dispatch from the courthouse.
The New York Supreme Court may have denied an extension of the temporary restraining order issued this morning, but lawyers for Occupy Wall Street say there is nothing that can stop their clients from sleeping in Zuccotti Park tonight.
The lawyers argued that the decision only mentions that tents and other structures cannot be erected. It does not say anything about sleeping bags. “In our view there aren’t serious safety and health concerns at the park,” OWS lawyer Alan Levine said at a press conference shortly after the court posted the decision on its website.
“Protesters will continue to occupy Wall Street,” says OWS lawyer Yetta Kurland. “The 99 percent will continue to express themselves. We will continue this fight.” Another OWS lawyer Dan Alterman said that the legal team hasn’t decided whether to appeal yet. “This is just a hiccup in the road,” he says.
Kurland added: “The city has acted so arrogantly today. My official next step is to go back to the office, plug in my dead cell phones, get a cup of coffee, and then regroup.”
City attorney Sheryl Neufeld said she was pleased with the decision. Douglas Flaum, who represents Brookfield Properties, did not take any questions.
The contact info for the city’s attorney is firstname.lastname@example.org
“Despite Mayor Bloomberg initially banning tents, the park was swollen with them. Finding an entrance was difficult. Inside the park, the kitchen was handing out free ice cream and a pair of protesters inside the main media tent pedaled two bicycles hooked up to a generator. The tents had by now taken up much of the space, forcing the protesters to keep to small, marked-off areas like the folding table where four or five people sat stripping cigarette butts for the leftover tobacco, or to the table next to it stacked with dog food and treats for Zuccotti’s canine population.
Many of the tents were closed. Of the ones that were open, the people inside were sleeping, chatting, eating – living.”
Daphnee Denis has been speaking to protestors after the judge ruled against the use of tents in Zuccotti Park. They say that if they can’t stay at the park, they’ll ask churches to give them shelter.
BREAKING: Olivia Waxman has the judge’s ruling:
The restraining order has been denied. Protesters did not prove the tents were necessary to prove their point.
Visit the court’s website for the full decision. A press conference on the decision will begin shortly at the courtroom.
Reporters Anna Hiatt and Jonathan Tayler have been on the scene since the eviction of Zuccotti Park began. This is what they saw.
For more photos from the morning, check out their slideshow: “When the Police Came to Zuccotti Park”
Olivia Waxman, who is Ink’s reporter at the courthouse, says that someone walked out of the clerk’s office and told reporters that the judge is still writing a decision. There may be word by 5 p.m.
There has been some confusion regarding the court’s verdict on the eviction. Several reporters, including our own Omar Akhtar, have heard that the judge has ruled in the protestors favor. But The Ink’s Olivia Waxman, who is currently at the courthouse, heard different. She spoke to Alan Levine, a lawyer for the OWS movement. Levine dismissed a report that claimed the court had ruled that tents could go back into the park. “No such thing, there has been no decision yet,” he said.
Waxman says that OWS lawyer Dan Alterman walked out of the clerk’s office about 20 minutes ago and told the press line that there has been no decision yet. A reporter asked when the decision would come out, and Alterman, quoting Bob Dylan said: “‘the pump don’t work ’cause the vandals took the handles.'”
Slate’s David Weigel noted that a Josh Harkinson piece from this morning reported that police had used the term “frozen zone” when ordering protestors to leave. The term “frozen zone” is used for an area secured by police to guard it from terror threats. Read the full story at Slate.
Gloria Dawson reports on the Occupy Wall Street court order:
After police removed all protesters from the Occupy Wall Street camp in Zuccotti Park early this morning, Mayor Bloomberg said the protesters were breaking the laws of the park.
Protesters fired back by filing an injunction. Occupy Wall Street has moved inside, to the courts.
“The law that created Zuccotti Park required that it be open for the public to enjoy for passive recreation 24 hours a day,” read a statement by the mayor. “Ever since the occupation began, that law has not been complied with, as the park has been taken over by protestors, making it unavailable to anyone else.”
If granted, the injunction would force the city to restrain temporarily from “(a) evicting protesters and (b) enforcing “rules” published after the occupation began or otherwise preventing protesters from re-entering the park with tents and other property previously utilized” according to the court document.
Mayor Bloomberg said he knew about the injunction and planned to fight it. Jonathan Askin, an associate professor of clinical law at Brooklyn Law School, said he believed the restraining order should hold up in court and the protestors will be allowed to camp in Zuccotti Park. “There are some privately-owned public spaces that have curfews and other restrictions,” he wrote in an email. “Zuccotti Park was not and is not one of those parks. After the occupation of the park, the owner of Zuccotti Park attempted to create new rules governing behavior within the park, including preclusions on camping. These after-the-fact rules are contrary to the agreement that the landlord had made with the city in exchange for its building variances. I don’t believe the landlord now has the right to retroactively change its agreement to preclude camping within the park. It is also questionable whether the landlord has the right to use city police to enforce its own rules.”
After their removal protesters moved to Foley Square. Unlike Zuccotti Park, Foley is a public park run by the New York City Park’s Department. Philip Abramson of the parks press office said that that park, like most public parks in the city, closes at 1a.m.
Daphnee Denis speaks to “The Grandmothers of OWS”.
They’re leaning on a barrier, needles in their hands, knitting what they thought would keep the occupiers warm during the chilly nights of November. Karin Hofmann, 69, and Marsha Spencer, 56, came to Zuccotti Park as soon as they heard of the eviction this morning. Spencer went at 3 a.m. Hofmann got here at 9 a.m. after watching the morning news.
“We don’t stay overnight,” Hofmann says, “but we had some things stored in the tents including chairs and all the donated wood so we could make clothes for the occupiers. All that’s gone. It’s distressing.”
The chairs are what worry them the most. Hofmann says that at her age, she can’t be standing. Spencer was using a chair that she always used to carry when she accompanied her kids to summer camp. She says she’ll miss it.
Both women are the grandmothers of Occupy Wall Street. And they are proud to be. “Ask me about my grandchildren,” says a badge on Spencer’s bag – the one where she carries her wool.
I ask about them.
She tells me proudly she has five grandkids; ages range from seven to 16. “They’re the reason why I’m here,” she adds. “Things have to change for their future.”
Since they arrived at Zuccotti Park, Spencer and Hofmann have adopted a wider family. “I had spare needles,” Spencer says. “People would come sit down with us and knit for an hour or two.”
They made friends at the park; now they’re worried about them. They’re waiting to hear from one woman who used to knit with them. She was sleeping in a tent last night but they haven’t seen her today.
“I know some people have been arrested,” Hofmann says. “We’re concerned, so we stay here. Here’s where we always knit.” She’s wearing a black T-shirt that says, in English and in German, “We will not be silent.” The scarf she’s knitting is black too — it contrasts with her pale skin and white hair.
Hofmann lives in the East Village and came to Zucotti Park because she wanted to see “the conversation change.” Here, she says, it isn’t about “how can I make more money?” but about “how can I help?” The park provided her with better healthcare than what she gets otherwise, she adds. She was widowed in 1985. She’d never planned on having a career but had to start working as a counselor for the aging and sometimes as a substitute teacher after her husband died. Still, she says, “Social Security is what’s keeping me alive now, and even that is threatened. It’s devastating.”
At Occupy Wall Street, she found people who care for her: they bring her food and come see her to have a chat. “The media’s always saying that all the occupiers do is complain,” she says. “All I know is they bring me cookies.”
Judge Michael Stallman will issue a decision by 3 p.m. on whether the restraining order should be extended. Olivia Waxman has details from the courtroom.
Brookfield Properties’ attorneys argued that Zuccotti Park is not meant to be a tent city. The owners feel they will be liable to the city if they do not clean it up and attend to health, waste, and fire safety issues. The attorneys say the park is not meant for habitation. They told Judge Stallman that if the park is cleaned up, protesters can go back and speak freely and sit on the benches — but they should not be allowed to set up camp. Attorneys want the city to help make sure the park gets used in accordance with the park’s rules.
Lawyers for Occupy Wall Street argued that Brookfield Properties made up rules for regulating the park only after the occupation began. Lawyer Alan Levine argued that Brookfield had no greater authority to pass rules on the park than the city of New York and must display a “compelling” interest for doing so. Levine said fire and sanitation issues can be dealt with in a less restrictive manner, like setting up portable toilets and putting out more trash cans.
Lawyers for Occupy Wall Street argued there was no urgent need for police action earlier this morning. But city attorney Sheryl Neufeld argued that Brookfield has an obligation to make Zuccotti Park “open and accessible to all” and that is currently not the case. She argued there is no clear way to move around the park anymore: “Tents are on top of each other. And the number of tents has increased over the weekend.”
The court room erupted with laughter when Dan Alterman, an attorney for Occupy Wall Street, said the movement served the city with an order at 4:45am and faxed it to the mayor’s office. Neufeld said, “It was 5:00am, how was anyone supposed to get that?” Dan Alterman retorted, “You evicted us at 1:00am!”
When the hearing ended, Alterman said, “I think the judge gave a fair hearing.” Arthur Schwartz, a lawyer for the Transport Workers Union and the Working Families Party, said that “the situation is moving too fast.”
Manhattan Borough President, Scott Stringer, said:
“Zuccotti Park is not Tiananmen Square.
I call for a full explanation of police behavior in this evacuation.”
Daphnee Denis captured some moments from today’s events.
Our reporter Joey Maestas spoke to Brooklyners about the movement, and what’s next for it. Check out his Storify here.
If you’re unable to go down and see it for yourself, our reporter Emily Judem sends us this video of protesters:
The Ink’s Emily Judem is now on the scene.
Robin Mahonen,56, is from Wheeling, West Virginia. She came to New York on Friday after taking part in “Occupy Wheeling.”
She brought a sign from back home in solidarity with the New York protestors.She says she never thought there would be a protest in Wheeling because of how conservative the city is, and was surprised when almost 200 people showed up. Now she says she will stay in New York at least until protestors are let back in Zuccotti Park.
Omar Akhtar reports from Zuccotti Park.
The mood here is strangely upbeat. The protesters seem galvanized by the eviction and have returned with renewed purpose.
Chelsea Elliott, 25 says that ”for a long time, there was no outside force actively opposing us, plus the media attention was going slow. This event seems to have re-energised everybody. It’s showed us who we’re fighting against.’
The NYPD are now the ones occupying a freshly sanitized Zucotti Park. In a surreal scene, it looks like they are the ones under siege as they are surrounded by a ring of exuberant protesters.
The protesters say that the NYPD are in contempt of a court order issued this morning that is supposed to allow the protesters to return to the park. The order is currently being contested in the courts with both the police and the protesters waiting to take action
after the decision.
Olivia Waxman has an update from the courthouse.
Wylie Stecklow is one of the lawyers representing the movement. The OWS legal team is reviewing the papers that the city served about an hour ago and will argue that the city’s position is “not constitutional.” The city filed papers stating that the park was dangerous and needed to be cleaned. But Stecklow says that “police are creating a more dangerous situation by not letting protesters back in. The situation at the park is more dangerous now than it was before.” He is holding papers filed by the president of the Transport Workers Union of America Local 101 and the Working Families Party. They are requesting to act as plaintiffs so that they can formally support the movement.
Michael Stallman is the judge assigned to the hearing, which will take place in Room 412. The room is filled almost to capacity.
Emily Judem sends us this photo from the corner of Trinity Pl. and Cedar St. :
Daphnee Denis spoke to Anthony Accardo, 23, an actor who lets protestors come to his apartment to shower.
Accardo founded a theatre troupe after first coming to Zuccotti Park. “That’s what brought down the Soviet Union, you know, the art?” he says. “Right now we’re fighting over a bench. But it’s not going to go. We’re not going to go away.”
Ink reporter Olivia Waxman is with the press, occupying the hallway outside room 315 at 60 Centre St. She says that lawyers for Occupy Wall Street are reviewing papers, but there’s still no judge, or even a room.
Ink reporter Ravi Kumar is out at Grand Street and Sixth Avenue.He says that it looks like they are going to be mass arrests. Protestors have broken a lock and about 50 have entered the park next to Trinity Church. People are chanting: “This park belongs to God.” Others are telling the crowd “we’re here as your friends” and handing out red roses.
Ink reporter Daphnee Denis is at Zuccotti Park. She spoke to Beth Bogart, who’s walking around issuing leaflets accusing the city of “breaking the law” by evicting protestors.
Oscar Guinn came this morning to support the protestors. Guinn says that the eviction is “extraordinarily unfair, people try to go through the proper channels and respect the law, and the police doesn’t care.They say that the protestors have to talk to someone else, that it’s not their job. But if anything, that IS their job. to uphold the law, rather than to keep people out of the park.”
“T”, 33, refused to give his full name, but says he has been coming here and “organizing since Day One.” When asked where the movement was heading next, he said “the city’s full of space.”
The New York World reports that a judge has issued a temporary restraining order against the eviction of demonstrators from Zuccotti Park.
Judge Lucy Billings said that the city must halt the eviction and may not prevent protestors from reentering the park with tents and other property.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he is aware of the court order, but will fight it. The judge has ordered city representatives to appear before court and show cause by 11:30 a.m.
Read a transcript of the court order on The New York World.
Our reporter Anna Hiatt is at Grand Street and Sixth Avenue. She says protestors have been there for about 75 minutes. A dozen or so protestors have climbed construction plywood and are sitting atop it with a yellow and black “Occupy Wall Street” sign.
More than 200 protestors are in a triangular paved area along Sixth Avenue between Canal and Grand. They are standing below a statue of Juan Pablo Duarte. There are a few police cars, and media vans from NY1, CBS2, and ABC Eyewitness. Hiatt says that the media presence is thinning out. A lawyer’s guild is standing by, informing protestors of their legal rights.
A protestor holds up a sign: “From Tahrir Square to New York square, justes for all. We are the 99%”
November 14th: Another normal day at the Occupy Wall Street Protests. Just as it had for the previous eight weeks, an improvised community rose to life, spread its message as best it could, and returned to slumber amongst the tarps, tents, and unforgiving granite rock of Zuccotti Park.
Within an hour of November 15th, all of that changed.
The New York City Police Department moved on the Zuccotti encampment, forcing protestors out of the place many called home. It was 1 a.m. Police created a perimeter around Zuccotti Park, preventing anyone – media or otherwise, from entering the area. The goal was the opposite: everyone must go. Reports of pepper spray usage flooded the Twitterverse. Some chained themselves to the kitchen tent in the center of the encampment, even as other tents were dismantled and discarded, thrown hastily into the back of garbage trucks. The occupiers and all of their possessions, were meant to be cleared immediately. The protestors were, one way or another, removed from the premises.
In a statement, Mayor Michael Bloomberg explained: “At Brookfield’s request, members of the NYPD and Sanitation Department assisted in removing any remaining tents and sleeping bags. This action was taken at this time of day to reduce the risk of confrontation in the park, and to minimize disruption to the surrounding neighborhood.
“Protestors were asked to temporarily leave the park while this occurred, and have been told that they will be free to return to the park once Brookfield finishes cleaning it later morning. Protestors – and the general public – are welcome there to exercise their First Amendment rights, and otherwise enjoy the park, but will not be allowed to use tents, sleeping bags, or tarps and, going forward, must follow all park rules.”
Now the story unfolds. Stay with us as it does. We’ve been there all night and we’ll be here all day.