Live from Wall St: Chaos. Cops raided and emptied the park at dawn, destroyed the entire library and kitchen, and the belongings of many of those camped out; arrested 115 people and injured a few; chopped down several trees that protesters had chained themselves to (I hope not the Tree of Life) and emptied the park; cleaning crews filed in and cleaned the plaza.
Protesters regrouped at Foley Plaza; from there they marched to City Hall to hear the mayor's press conference, then returned. Then at 8:15 they marched to Canal Street and 6th Avenue; not me, I was eating an egg sandwich. But in a few I left too and happened to arrive there 20 minutes before them. Why? Turns out they ran into their friends from Labor and Organized Religion who were going to meet them at Canal! They marched together and it was an impressive sight to see, streaming across the intersection.
Everyone settled into the plaza on the NW corner. A faction from Philadelphia arrived with giant black and yellow signs and faux "houses" with messages on them, kind of resembling Danger work signs. A rabbi spoke, then a priest, and then a disruptive type who wanted attention. ho hum.
THEN a man in a suit and track shoes (always a bad sign) got up and invited us into the closed-off art park that abutted our space; locked, chained and quite spacious inside; the art was gone for now. He claimed the owner (it was a private park) was an ardent supporter of OWS and everything was OK. And people started hauling the signs over the wall. He said they were opening the gate now, and soon we could go in. And then we were in.
I did not notice as I went in that I went in through a tangle of cut chain link fence; and presumably a sheared padlock. I did notice after walking around a bit, and suddenly became afraid; this was a setup. Anyone inside could easily be arrested; there was no escape.
And the police did show up, in force, a few minutes later. I'd left as soon as I noticed the roiling bad feeling in the pit of my stomach, a minute after I'd noticed the state of the entrance gates. The police rolled up and assumed a battle formation, facing the park. And the crowd of them kept getting bigger, and bigger! And closer, suddenly, the Asian patrolwoman I had seen over there was over here; and still closer yet.
A man, a very intense (some call it focused) man, suddenly confronted Mr. Track Shoes & Suit. He made clear that this man was not OWS, that he had done this thing on his own, that the GA had not got consensus on it. He screamed, "Who are you?!" several times. I didn't hear an answer. Then, a police chief bustled through the crowd and looked into the art park; he called for others and they (police) too walked into the park; looked around; did not approve. The chief came back out and some of the officers. I was getting nervous, something was about to happen. Undecided, I edged around forward and back, deciding whether to stay or to go. Finally I gave in to my fear and walked, nonchalantly (I hoped) away, to "see what was going on on the other side of the park." I found there businessmen looking concerned, not triumphant; some very concerned-or is that just my bias? There, there was no banner covering the fence, you could see right in; still plenty of protestors milling about.
At this point I left, completely freaked. The last impression I had while still at the gate was that the police intended to arrest absolutely all of us; some police had rolled in from behind me, a troubling development. They were kind of surrounding all of us, press, bystanders, everyone; everyone was intimidated, to say the least.
I'm writing from Starbucks Spring St. and hoping I can find out more on twitter.
I'm still freaked. This kind of harassment is something else; run us out of the park, follow us to Canal, plant agents provocateurs in the crowd to foster an illegal activity, then arrest us all again!
They must really be scared.
This occupation is never going to be over.
We love you.