Sometime around 1:00 a.m. on Tuesday morning, New York City police officers moved in on Zuccotti Park, ejecting Occupy Wall Street protesters and clearing the camp of their tents and belongings. The surprise move set off a wild night of confrontations, rumors, and arrests in downtown Manhattan.
The action started around 1:00 a.m. when officers showed up and started handing out fliers saying that everyone had to leave the park and take their belongings with them, and that those who didn't leave would be subject to arrest. The Mayor's Office claimed (via Twitter) that the eviction is only temporary and that protesters can return when the park is cleaned. However, the indication was that tents and sleeping bags will no longer be allowed, which would essentially end the "occupation" part of the movement. Occupiers immediately began sending out calls via Twitter and Facebook for supporters come down and rally to their support.
A great deal of rumor and unconfirmed stories have been flowing out via Twitter and the various live video streams; a matter that's been complicated by the fact that the NYPD essentially walled off the entire area and had denied access to almost all media members who have attempted to cover tonight's raid. Here a roundup of some of what's being reported. Again, not all of this is confirmed, but we'll continue to update as reports come in through out the night:
- After the announcement by the NYPD, some protesters chained themselves in the makeshift "kitchen area" of Zuccotti Park.
- The move by the city may have been spurred by (possibly erroneous) reports that the protesters were planning to shut down subway stops and the New York Stock Exchange later this week.
- Entire subway stations have been shutdown near the vicinity, restricting access and preventing people from coming downtown.
- At one point we saw (on a Ustream) a stand-off between cops and protesters after a dump truck filled with tents and other Occupiers' things tried to make it's way out of the area. People blocked off the road and the truck was forced to back up in retreat. (Photo of the truck, via @JoshHarkinson)
- Unconfirmed: Police may have used a LRAD or "sound bomb" to disperse protesters.
- Unconfirmed: Police were "beating people" back on nearby streets, using pepper spray and making mass arrests, but other reports have been the dispersal, while noisy, has been mostly peaceful.
- One photo journalists says his camera lens was broken by a policeman's baton.
- According to Mother Jones reporter Josh Harkinson (perhaps the only reporter to actually get inside Zuccotti Park), cops have used tear gas to remove the last few occupiers holed up in the food tents. Harkinson was nearly arrested himself, even after identifying himself as a reporter.
(via New York Observer)
The LRAD "sound bomb device. Some protesters claim it was used, but that's unconfirmed.
(Photo by Business Insider's Joe Weisenthal.)
- Residents in the area are reportedly being told to say indoors and not leave their apartments. NY1 traffic reporter Jamie Shupak says there are no subway or bridge closures related to the activity.
- A crowd of about 100 Occupiers is reportedly moving north up Manhattan's Lafayette Street toward Union Square.
- Tweet from @KatyAnderson: "#OWS reporter - On ground: @coreykilgannon @ajecathturner @JoshHarkinson @_rosiegray @natashalennard @LindseyChrist Scanner: @MegRobertson"
- Live steams to follow: The Other 99 and OccupyNYC.
- Another pic from @JoshHarkinson. The police made quick work of Zuccotti Park, wiped clean in just about 3 hours.
- Russia Today also has a live feed of Zuccotti Park here. A huge group of city sanitation workers are still sweeping the park clean of debris.
- More video, via the BBC, of protesters being driven from the park by police.
- Protesters are now fighting among each other. The guy live streaming the proceedings caught some protesters draining the air out of police car tries and they turned on him, trying to get him turn off the camera. Now they're arguing about transparency and rights.
- At least two buses full of protesters have been arrested. The buses reportedly circled Foley Square as other protesters changed and beat drums.
- The aftermath (via AP):
- For the moment, the remaining protesters have rallied to plot their next moves in Foley Square, a public area in Lower Manhattan surrounded by several large government building. (Mostly court buildings.)
- NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg has released a statement about this morning's action, basically saying the park had become too dangerous: "I could not wait for someone in the park to get killed or to injure another first responder before acting.... Protestors have had two months to occupy the park with tents and sleeping bags. Now they will have to occupy the space with the power of their arguments." Read the full statement here (via BNO News)
- Hundreds gathered in Foley Square now as sun rises in New York. (6:25 a.m.)
- Via AnimalNY: NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly oversaw the police operations in Zuccotti Park this morning.
- Foley Square as officially become the new Occupy Zone. Those who have been evicted are settling up a new camp, as they figure out what to do next.
We'll continue to add updates to this post as news comes in.