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We are the 99 percent

Support Occupy Union Square, and Other Upcoming #OWS Events!

Posted 12 years ago on March 22, 2012, 6:45 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt

union square last night, photos via <http://www.flickr.com/photos/megrobertson>

At the new Occupation of Union Square, a pattern is emerging. For five days, since the NYPD attacked the attempted re-occupation of Liberty Square, hundreds of people have Occupied the park in midtown Manhattan. For the past two nights, using the pretext of ¨midnight park cleaning¨, NYPD has responded with heavy-handed tactics to enforce a curfew on the park for the first time in history since it opened in 1882. Twice, NYPD has come under cover of darkness to harass and intimidate the peaceful Occupiers.

Last night, thousands of New Yorkers converged on Union Square for the #MillionHoodiesMarch to demand justice for Trayvon Martin and all victims of racist terror. The NYPD also turned out in massive numbers and attacked the marchers, who responded with chants of ¨no justice, no peace, no racist police!¨ In a scene reminiscent of the September march for Troy Davis during the early days of the Liberty Square Occupation, the NYPD once again stole the show, turning a march against the killing of a Black 17-year-old into yet another scene of police brutality against protesters.

The crowd was split into several smaller marches by police assaults. One group filled Times Square with chants of ¨We are Trayvon Martin!¨, while another headed to the Brooklyn Bridge, and a third converged on Liberty Square (which NYPD had already barricaded). Nearby, top NYPD brass were caught on livestream violently arresting and swinging batons at peaceful protesters.

As the march arrived in the financial district, protesters overturned the barricades on Wall Street and climbed the iconic Wall Street bull that NYPD has vigilantly guarded ever since #OWS began, long a symbol of the banking and financial industry´s greed. The police were quick to rush to defend the symbol of the Stock Exchange, receiving chants of ¨Whose cops? Wall Street´s cops!¨ In the United States, police attack nonviolent protesters for challenging economic inequality, but killers of unarmed youth of color are left alone.

After the Million Hoodie March, many Occupiers returned to Union Square for the night. They were met with an even larger police presence. Occupiers were doing nothing except socializing, playing music, and resting when hundreds of police, with many high-ranking officials and riot squads present, set up barricades. As though trying to incite a riot, the NYPD forced them from their peaceful encampment once again, formed a human chain around protesters, and threatened to arrest anyone who sits in the park.

occupy union square

For two nights now, in a display of wishful thinking, local corporate media has claimed that Occupy Union Square was evicted. But we´re still there. Last night, after being kicked out temporarily, Occupiers merely marched around the perimeter and waited in a tense stand-off until police finally left. Given the increasingly aggressive temperament of the NYPD commanders on the scene, many expected a violent mass arrest which, luckily, did not occur - most likely because literally 100s of thousands of people had been watching the night´s events on Livestream.

It is yet to be seen how long the NYPD will continue this nightly dramatic waste of city resources. While it would cost nothing to allow homeless protesters to sleep in a 24-hour public park, it costs a lot to kick them out. And it is a waste -because every time the city has attacked, protesters have stood their ground nonviolently and returned as soon as the police leave and rush hour traffic wakes up. The NYPD is waging an unwinnable war on dissent.

Stay tuned - there is a lot planned for the coming days!

Upcoming Events

Weekly Wall Street Marches
Friday, March 23 2:00pm
Liberty Square

Every Friday at 2pm we march from Liberty Square to Wall Street in preparation for May Day, a day of massive economic non-compliance and strike. Occupy is returning back to the basics as done in September: accessible direct actions to strengthen our community and voice our grievances to the 1%.

OWS Orientation
Saturday, March 24, 12noon
Liberty Square

Don’t know where to begin? Want help connecting to specific groups and projects? Join us at the next OWS Orientation this Saturday March 24, at noon, meet at the Red Cube across the street from Liberty Square (rain location: public atrium at 60 Wall Street). Email Tascha at orientation@nycga.net.

Saturday, March 24, 5:00pm-8:00pm
Disrupt Dirty Power!
United Nations Plaza, 405 E. 42nd Street

Occupy Wall Street and allied organizations will kick off a global month of action leading up to Earth Day, April 22, to connect the dots between the 1% and the destruction of the planet. Mock corporate polluters will set up shop, and the 99% will take them on!

Sunday, March 25, 12:00-2:00pm
Studying May Day and the General Strike – w/ Ruth Milkman
Liberty Square

Organized with the Immigrant Worker Justice working group. Facilitated by Occupy University, as part of a series of teach-ins about May Day.

Sunday, March 25, 11:00am-7:00pm
Occupy Town Square IV
Fort Greene Park, Brooklyn

Occupy Town Squares are daytime occupations held in parks and other public spaces around NYC. With info tables, teach-ins, and political discussions, each event seeks to recreate the spirit of occupation and reclaim our public commons. Come share your ideas and stories, learn about the movement, argue with us, debate with us, collaborate with us. http://nycga.net/events/event/occupy-town-square-iv-fort-greene-park

Monday, March 26, 12:30pm
Bronx Foreclosure Auction Blockade
Fountain in Joyce Kilmer Park

Join Occupy Homes and Organizing for Occupation to sing in a moratorium on all foreclosures! Pre-meeting in the park at 12:30pm; action at the Bronx Supreme Civil Court at 2pm.

Every Day in March, 11:30-2:00pm
Cultural Occupation Of Liberty Square (COOLS)
Liberty Square

OWS inspired the world by maintaining a presence in Liberty Square – creating a viral action that spread across the country and the globe. COOLS brings, food, discussion, education and fun to the park every day. Bring your appetite and light the fire in your belly that will ignite our actions going forward. Join us – we need each other. Do it now! Tweet using #ows and #CultureOcc and find a full schedule of special events, speakers and performances at http://cools.nycga.net

Call to Action: May Day 2012

If you’d like to be added to the announcement and/or discussion listserv or have any questions regarding meeting time, location, structure, please contact mayday@nycga.net. http://maydaynyc.org

occupy union square during the day



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[-] 3 points by DanielBarton (1345) 12 years ago

Just a hint of advice the Egyptian's protest worked so well because it was from 5pm-12pm everyday so people would get off work and go protest. This is what Occupy should be doing instead of trying to take something that they don't need. If you want this to be successful you need to invite everyone after work everyday and go from those times. If that is done people wont be tired as often and things wont get heated with the police. Plus it allows the opportunity for the every working person to come down after work. Just a thought

[-] 2 points by Rebdem (71) 12 years ago

Lets see if the actually listen

[-] 2 points by CatLady2 (248) from New York, NY 12 years ago

Very good point.. will avoid alot of the drama thats happening down there now. There is no need to be protesting anything at 2 am.

[-] 2 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 12 years ago

Describing the cops kicking the shit out of people as "drama" trivializes what is going on. This filthy rotten system is so embedded in our psyche's that nothing short of a protest 24/7, 365 days a year is likely to bring it down.

[-] 0 points by CatLady2 (248) from New York, NY 12 years ago

Have you even watched the livefeeds the last 2 nights? There was no shit kicking going on. The park was closed at midnite, folks were told. The barricades were put up and there were no arrests last night. There was however a tremendous amount of provocation on the part of many of the protesters. The NYC park rules have nothing to do with anything OWS claims to stand for. There have always been rules in the public park system, one of them is no camping. There are also noise ordinances, this isnt some random park in the middle of the woods, its in the middle of a residential/business neighborhood. People are sleeping.. working.. kids need to go to school. What happened to the " be a good neighbor" rule on the original 99% declaration? Explain to me what yelling, screaming, and banging on drums at 2 am is going to change? Other than creating more friction.

[-] 3 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 12 years ago

I didn't have to watch live feeds. I was there. It was horrible. I don't know what is going on with the NYPD. I wouldn't say they are out of control because I think they are "just following orders," but those orders come from very high up. I have been active in social movements for nearly 50 years and this is the worst police violence I have seen outside of the deep south or perhaps the Chicago Police riots of 1968.

That park has been open all night since it was first opened in 1882. The "cleaning" is a lame excuse to harrass, intimidate and beat on OWS activists. Police hostility is so intense that I am sure OWS is doing exactly the right thing in challenging it. If they are so intent on keeping us out of the parks and keeping us from re-establishing our encampment, for whatever reason, then, it seems to me is exactly what we should be doing. Truely, it is not at all clear to me why they are so hostile to our re-establishing an encampment, but because they are, it seems to me that is exactly what we should be doing.

As Michael Moore pointed out in his speech at Saturday's Left Forum, the purpose of Occupy Wall Street is to Occupy Wall Street. So far we haven't gotten there, but we're trying to get as close as we can, which is undoubtedly what is pissing them off so much.

Most of the late night noise in the last three nights has come from policde sirens.

We have been remarkably peaceful and undeserving of the brutality visited upon us. BTW and FYI, if it matters I'm 69 years old.

[-] 0 points by CatLady2 (248) from New York, NY 12 years ago

As you say you were there.. then who was beat up last night? The live feeds certainly didn't show anyone being beat up. As far as people sleeping out in the parks.. are you telling me people have put up tents over the years and created a campsite? Or are you talking about the homeless who falls asleep on the benches, which btw, NYPD has always woken up. Not sure if you are a NYer or not, but overnight camping has never been allowed, in any city park. Why should the laws change now? I don't see anything wrong with setting up times to march and protest where it doesn't break any laws, doesn't alienate the residents and maybe would bring more people out who would support the causes. Why not form a group that arranges a meeting with city officials to clear the air, and figure out what can be done and what won't be tolerated. There has got to be compromise on both sides.

[-] 3 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 12 years ago

I'm not in a position to name names. I have many personal and health problems and I'm not able to be a full time occupier, but I go as often as I can, so I don't know a lot of other occupiers personally or by name. For sure the worst police violence was at Zuccotti on Saturday night, but that doesn't mean they particularly have showed much retraint on subsequent nights at Union Square. Even assuming that there is some legitimacy in their utterly phoney claim that they needed to clear the park for cleaning (which has never been an issue before in more than 100 years) their methods of removing people was excessive and brutal.

There haven't been any tents at any New York City encampment since November 15 and American law is not based on what law enforcement agents think what some people might do at some point in the future. People have been sleeping in Union Square for decades. It only became an issue for the NYPD when OWS started to do it and there were no tents there.

it is the police who are breaking the law by violating the First Amendment, one of the most basic and sacred of American rights. More and more people are joining OWS all the time. Thousands of people have come out to support our right to assemble. There are more than 20,000 occupiers nationally. Internationally it numbers at least in the hundreds of thousands if not millions. Despite co-ordinated police efforts to smash our encampments around the nation there are still more than 60 encampments in place in small and middle sized municipalities around the nation. As Michael Moore stated, the whole movement around the nation and around the world looks to us here in New York for leadership and because this is the world center of global capitalism and corporatism. That is why the movement is so important here.

We never got a permit and we have no intention of getting a permit. The First Amendment is the only permit we need and it is the NYPD that is violating that sacred law, not OWS.

[-] 0 points by CatLady2 (248) from New York, NY 12 years ago

I did not ask specific names, but if you were there you know that there were no acts of violence commited by NYPD last night. I don't think there were any arrests either. They are closing the park at midnite, the city has that right. It's very simple. It does not mean they are squashing the 1st amendment. Actually there were cops heard on the livefeed last night telling the protesters they could send thier message and voice thier opinions, they just could not go past the barricaded areas and they could not lie down. What's the problem with that? They had plenty of room and space to talk all night until they opened the general park at 6 am, to everyone.
There isn't anyone around at 2 am to send the message to anyway, other than OWS, or drunks coming out of the bars. Not sure where all these sleeping people in Union Square are.. but people have never been allowed to sleep or camp out in any city park, for decades. Thats not a new law just cause OWS came to town. Cops have been waking people up in city parks for years, nothing new. Did you also know there is no smoking in any park in NYC? Yet the protesters are smoking up a storm and I have yet to hear of anyone being given a citation for that. But I suppose OWS thinks that its ok to infringe on everyone's health. Again, I will say.. everyone needs to compromise. If you want this message to get across ,the same respect you expect ,needs to be given to others.

[-] 2 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 12 years ago

One of the great things about the physical occupation of OWS is that while people often disagree with each other one of the things that they don't do is tell each other what they know or should know. There have been arrests every night since last Saturday. As I am writing this I am watching Pool's live feed from Union Square and there have already been arrests there tonight, though it is true that there has been less overt police violence there tonight than there has been on previous nights.

I'm truly conflicted about continuing this conversation as you are clearly hostile to OWS and I think it is unlikely that I could convince you otherwise.

The First Amendment says that people have the right to peaceably assemble for the redress of grievances. It places no restrictions on the time, place or duration of such assembly. The Court, not you or I, is the body charged with interpreting the Constitution. That doesn't mean that you and I are not entitled to our own opinion and clearly we disagree here, I suspect because of your genteel view of the world.

Homeless people have been sleeping in the nooks and crannies of New York City for decades. What the Bloomberg administration and genteel people like yourself find offensive about OWS is that we are taking that sad fact and pushing it in your genteel face.

A compromise with evil is still evil and if their is anything that is evil it is those institutions of society which have a legitimate monopoly on violence such as the police and the military.

[-] 1 points by CatLady2 (248) from New York, NY 12 years ago

You make an awful lot of assumptions about me. You call me genteel. You have no idea about my views on OWS or any other issue . You have no idea who I am, what I do, how I got to where I am, what roads I've travelled to become the person I am today at 54. You have no clue what tragedies may have fallen upon me, or how I worked thru any personal issues. Frankly I don't think you are really all that interested in what anyone else thinks or feels. I certainly don't think you are really about change, but rather how to " bring the man down". At any and all costs. And that saddens me. The last thing I'd want to see is a summer of violence.

What is to convince me of? Convince me that the NYPD is evil and OWS is always peaceful and non violent? There is good and rotten on both sides and you know it.

You don't think compromise is good as you call it " evil", hey thats cool, that is your opinion. I come from a place that thinks peaceful nonconfrontational dialogue gets more done than thinking the world is evil , and hate filled.

I'd be happy to meet with you next time you are in NYC, I will even buy the coffee, and we can discuss the issues like adults. I have nothing to hide. You might even be surprised that I have some good stuff to say and have plenty of ideas for change.

Having an open mind means having to take the shit out of one's ears first - me

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 12 years ago

I'm sorry about making unwarranted assumptions. They were based on comments you had made and undoubtedly I was perhaps reading too much into what you actually wrote. I'm 69 years old and as circumspect about violence as the next person, but I do think that the primary job of the police is to protect and serve the 1%, not some abstract notion of society.

I'll admit that I've held these views for nearly 50 years, for most of my adult life, but considering the way I have seen the NYPD behave toward OWS my previously held position has only been confirmed. On the other hand I also believe that it is true that the police are really "only following orders" and the real culprits are much higher up, higher up, I suspect than even the Bloomberg administration.

What does it mean to have an open mind with regard to OWS? I don't think it is a matter of "support" as in the context of an active, living, breathing movement IMHO mere support is rather pathetic. One is either part of the movement or not and I consider myself part of the movement. I have many, many criticisms of OWS, but I advance those criticisms as an active participant in the movement. I haven't especially seen the NYPD or the Bloomberg administration being willing to compromise on anything. Bloomberg criticized the Zuccotti encampment for being unsanitary and then refused to allow it to install port a potties, which seems like an oxymoron to me and he doesn't seem to give a damn about the unsanitary conditions that the chronically homeless face on a daily basis.

[-] 1 points by CatLady2 (248) from New York, NY 12 years ago

Apology accepted. If you think about it, and go back to any of my posts, comments or suggestions over the months, you won't see anything derogatory coming from me. That's not my thing. I am however a woman who speaks my mind and will say it as I see it. I don't sugar coat anything.
I too have seen some very poor behavior on the part of NYPD, but not all, and on that same note I have seen some poor behavior on the part of some of the protesters. What I see is frustration on both sides. Not sure if you know any NYPD, but I do, and most are decent hardworking men and women, without any ulterior motives. I am sure you also realize that the average beat cop is not making the decision to close a park or block a road on his own. He/she is just doing thier job and want to go home at night the same way we all do after a day of work. These decisions come from the higher ups, and yes very likely from Bloombergs office. Is it always fair? Absolutely not. That is why I suggested setting up a meeting with the city administrators. I don't think for a second that is unreasonable.
All of NYC is not going to come crashing down because OWS would like that to happen. People are still going to invest in the market, they are still using the big banks and corporations are still going to be in business. What I would like to see however, is some real changes within the system we have in place. I do believe that most folks want the same. It could be that the message is getting fractured with so many issues at hand.
And last but not least, to me an open mind, is listening to all sides, pros and cons of OWS and the issues at hand, and unfortunately that's not what I have seen thus far. It's too much of " Us vs Them" mentality, when in fact we all pull our pants down the same way to pee. You might be surprised to find some of the 1% ers feel the very same way you do. Oh and the offer for a coffee and a chat still stands.. ya never know what we might learn from each other or what solutions we might come up with.

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 12 years ago

I did not participate in any OWS meetings prior to September 17, though it is my understanding that the General Assembly took the position that any negotiation with the city, including applying for a parade permit, was unnecessary as the right to assemble and protest are guaranteed by the First Amendment and no other permission ought to be necessary. I do not especially feel hard core about that one way or another, but I do see the logic of the position.

In terms of what OWS wants, it is an extremely diverse movement and one of its guiding principles is that genuine representation is impossible and people can only speak for themselves. About the only political document that it has produced was a consensus document entitled the Declaration of the Occupation of New York City, which was passed by the General Assembly about a week after the occupation began. It has about 22 grievances listed, essentially regarding corporate power, though it is addressed not either to corporations or the state but rather it is an organizing document directed to "the people of the world."

There has been some discussion in OWS that there is a concern that too much emphasis on an adversarial relationship with the police will deflect attention away from the main anti-corporate message. While I am sympathetic to that view, as I was in the streets on Saturday, Sunday and Monday night and saw how aggressively the police opposed people who were being very peaceful just being there it has struck me that just being there is exactly the right thing to be doing given how opposed to it at least Bloomberg seems to be. Why? I really don't know, but clearly we are touching a nerve.

I will admit that many people became quite verbally hostile to the police. But that was after the police attacked what was essentially a peaceful crowd very aggressively and with virtually no warning. There were no tents and initially not even any sleeping bags. At Zuccotti on Saturday night there were just a couple of hundred people dancing and singing.

I'm personally not inclinded to go around calling cops names. On the other hand it is in the unstructured nature of OWS that there is really no mechanism to discipline individual demonstrators. With that in mind I find it really astonishing just how nonviolent virtually all the demonstrators are, again that is leaving aside taunts to police which generally only happen after police initiate a provocation, or at least that is what I observed being there.

In terms of Us vs. Them. The fact is, OWS is a movement and it has at least a rudimentary organizational structure in the form of local general assemblies. One can be detached and "objective" about that or one can identify with it and see ones self as part of it. I personally see myself in the latter category. From that perspective I so not see OWS as being above criticism, but my criticism are from within as an active participant in the movement, not as an "objective" outsider.

[-] 2 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 12 years ago

It should be noted that retire Philadelphia police captain Ray Lewis was present at the eviction of Zuccotti on Saturday night in uniform and he was horrified and very angry. He believed that what the NYPD did was both illegal and very dangerous, especially in regard to the fact that they gave virtually no warning before beginning to man handle people and throw them out of the park.

[-] 2 points by SelfDefense (9) from New York, NY 12 years ago

I've lived in NYC and frequented Union Square Park for 20 years. The closing time was never enforced before and I've never seen the park closed at night. It was closed because Wall St. and Bloomberg don't like the people assembled there. If the cops would leave Occupy the hell alone there would be no disruption. Like in Zucotti: The area was basically deserted at night and nothing would have been disrupted if not for the absurd police overreations.

[-] 0 points by CatLady2 (248) from New York, NY 12 years ago

I currently live in NYC and the reason it is being closed is because camping is not allowed. They allowed Zuccotti to go on as long as it did because it was privately owned. The neighborhoods that surround both parks are the reason they are shutting down at midnight. There is no reason the protests can't go on during normal hours like the above post suggested. There has to be compromise on both sides, you just can't let OWS do whatever they want and expect the city to just go along with it.

[-] 2 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 12 years ago

People have been sleeping out in Union Square all night for at least decades if not longer. The reason the cops beat on us and chased us out is not because people were sleeping. It is because they are trying to crush OWS, not because people were sleeping.

The First Amendment clearly states that we have the right to assemble for the redress of grievances. It puts no time limit on that right.

[-] 1 points by SelfDefense (9) from New York, NY 12 years ago

When Occupy does something in contravention of the US constitution and UN charters on human rights like the NYPD I will condemn them, but as they are the only people in my country fighting the forces destroying it and civilization itself I am in solidarity with them. After the theft of world historical proportions perpetrated by Wall St. and the destruction of tens of millions of people's livelihoods, to complain about people being in a park after midnight is absurd. Because a bunch of pampered bourgeois in overpriced apartments bitch about it, that is no reason to suspend the US constitution. No one asked New Yorkers if we wanted rents hyperinflated and our city culturally destroyed either. Do I get to evict people I don't like from the park too? Or is it only people who can buy a private police mercenary force? The rich in New York need to realize things have changed and they're not getting their way anymore. I wish Occupy had happened in the late 90's, New York could have been saved.

[-] 1 points by CatLady2 (248) from New York, NY 12 years ago

So the laws and park rules should no longer apply ? Gotcha.. us rich pampered spoiled NYers no longer have a say in what goes on in our city. <rolling my eyes>

But maybe if you tried to align us rich spoiled pampered NYers with you instead of alienating us, there would be more people out there fighting for change. This isn't rocket science, everyone knows there are major issues and wrongdoings in this country, but why aren't the numbers out there marching ? In a city of over 8 million, certainly there has to be a reason why they are not all out there protesting. St Pats Day brought out 2 million people to the parade, so we know the numbers are out there.

Of course rents are high, so is everything else in the city, hotels, dining, theatre tickets, yet the theatres are full, the hotels are busy, resturaunts are full, and people are still spending. And its not all the rich spoiled pampered NYers. Millions of average working people live, work and play here too.
Not sure what you mean by the city being culturally destroyed .

[-] 0 points by DanielBarton (1345) 12 years ago

you dont need to be no one will be there not even the media so whats the point

[-] 1 points by DanielBarton (1345) 12 years ago

let them have the park at night it does no good to be out that late anyways

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 12 years ago

Did one group converge on Times Square, or should this have read Union Square?

[-] 1 points by DonQuixot (231) 12 years ago

Perhaps when police charge the best tactic is to lie down on the floor head down. At least it can be tried and let's see how it goes. Police can beat someone running, even just standing, but I do not think they will dare to beat someone lying down on the floor, right in front of TV and press cameras, their worst enemy.

[-] 0 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 12 years ago

Take the fetal position, cover your head, keep your back turned to a friendly neighbor ( protect kidneys from being kicked). Sitting down would probably be safest though as you have at least an opportunity to see where the club is coming from and a chance to block it. A fractured arm is better than a fractured skull.

[-] 1 points by DonQuixot (231) 12 years ago

Also a good idea. Another idea is to wear bycicle or motorbike helmets. The US is reminding more and more of nazi Germany.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 12 years ago

Carry them concealed ( covered is actually the better word. in a bag or something ) until you should need them. Don't start out looking like you are confrontational. Paint them friendly colors and put the peace sign on them or the red cross or something anything peaceful Mr. Smiley face even. Motor cycle helmets, football helmets, Cycling Helmets Hockey Helmets. But make it clear that it is only personal protection and not confrontational.

Only wear them when the police start getting abusive.

[-] 1 points by FHampton (309) 12 years ago


[-] 0 points by zorbaka2 (61) 12 years ago

I think occupy needs to get back to talking about inequality and the financial shenanigans and the unfairness of the money flow in this country. It seems the conversation has degraded into whether or not we're suppose to be allowed to sleep in the park. the conversation is being successfully diverted away from the issues that interest anyone except a very few people who want to have a scuffle with police.