Blog Archive

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

WSJ: Climate Warrior Gail Zawacki unfurls "Koch Kills" banner anew! Occupy Renews Protests, Complaints

Occupy Renews Protests, Complaints

[OCCUPY]Rob Bennett for The Wall Street Journal
City Council members Jumaane Williams, in tan coat at microphones, and Ydanis Rodriguez lead a chanting protest at Zuccotti Park on Monday.

The return of protesters to Zuccotti Park this weekend has also brought back a dynamic familiar from Occupy Wall Street's stay last year: complaints of aggressive police conduct from demonstrators and elected officials.
Hundreds of protesters arrived in Lower Manhattan Saturday night to mark the six-month milestone since the anti-corporate movement first took inside the privately owned public plaza. By Sunday, 74 people had been arrested, several protesters and two New York Police Department officers had suffered injuries, and law-enforcement officials temporarily erected barricades around Zuccotti Park.
Police arrest Occupy Wall Street protesters for trespassing outside UN, pretending to be 'corporate polluters.' (Video: Reuters)
On Monday, two City Council members who have supported Occupy Wall Street since its inception, Ydanis Rodriguez and Jumaane Williams, denounced what they characterized as police abuse of protesters during a press conference. Both lawmakers took part in Saturday's protest.
The protesters "are not terrorists, they are not enemies of the state," said Williams. "This park is to be used by the public. Occupy Wall Street is part of the public." He added: "What this is about—and let's be clear—is suppression of dissent."

Photos: Occupy Wall Street, Six Months Later

Rob Bennett for The Wall Street Journal
As the anti-corporate protest marks six months since its birth inside a Lower Manhattan park, a look back at the photos tracking the movement's development in New York City.
The council members are in the process of writing legislation for a protesters' bill rights, which they plan to bring forth to City Council later this week. Rodriguez said local legislation to support protest is necessary, even if only symbolically.
Among the legal challenges facing protesters, Rodriguez cited President Barack Obama's recent decision to sign the Federal Restricted Grounds Improvement Act, which restricts access to public spaces when Secret Service officials are on the premises.
"There was a lot of excessive force used by the NYPD," said Rodriguez. "We believe that a protesters' bill of rights will send a clear definition of the responsibly of the NYPD." The council member was arrested during an Occupy Wall Street-related protest on November 17, 2011.
"When individuals engage in resisting arrest, police may resort to use of force to effect the arrests," said Paul Browne, a spokesman for the NYPD. "Most of those arrested were charged with resisting arrest among other charges, including four for assaulting police officers."
Rodriguez called for Council Speaker Christine Quinn to hold a hearing to examine the conduct of law enforcement. The lawmaker were joined by Donna Lieberman, director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, civil-rights lawyer Leo Klieckman and others.
Several Occupy Wall Street protesters also spoke at Monday's event, providing what they said were first-hand accounts of Saturday night's encounter with police. Bill Livsey lifted his left arm to display a large bruise, which he said came from a police baton. His cellphone was confiscated, he said.
"The injury I sustained is minor," Livsey told the crowd. "Some of my fellow protesters aren't here right now because they are either in the hospital or in jail."
During the press conference, Rodriguez urged New Yorkers to participate in a day of protests on March 24.
Not all of the protest dynamics are back to stay — at least not yet.
Metal barricades, which had become fixtures in the neighborhood during and after the days of the protest encampment, surrounded Zuccotti Park once again on Saturday night. By Monday morning, however, the barricades had been removed by security.
Corrections & Amplifications:
An earlier version of this article incorrectly attributed calls for a hearing to City Council Member Stephen Levin and misspelled his surname as Levine. The calls for a hearing were made by City Council member Ydanis Rodriguez.
A version of this article appeared March 20, 2012, on page A19 in some U.S. editions of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Occupy Renews Protests, Complaints.

No comments: