Evictions of Occupy Wall St in NYC & Other Cities May Be Part of Mayors’ Coordinated Plans of Action
According to NBC News, “hundreds of police officers, some in riot gear, descended on Zuccotti Park after midnight Tuesday in a surprise sweep of the Occupy Wall Street headquarters.” The raid was justified by police because of what they said were health and fire hazards.
In doing so, Mayor Bloomberg made a startling statement this morning, saying that the Occupy protesters’ First Amendment rights were “not absolute,” and were trumped by the health and safety concerns of the occupation of Zuccotti Park.
New York City’s elected public advocate, Bill de Blasio responded saying, “Protecting public safety and quality of life for downtown residents, and guaranteeing free expression are not exclusive of one another. Mayor Bloomberg made a needlessly provocative and legally questionable decision to clear Zuccotti Park in the dead of night. That some media and observers were prevented from monitoring the action is deeply troubling.”
De Blasio further stated, “I know of no one – protesters included – who desires a permanent occupation of lower Manhattan. But provocations under cover of darkness only escalate tensions in a situation that calls for mediation and dialogue. I call on the Mayor to find a sustainable resolution –as other cities have done – that allows for the exercise of free speech and assembly, with respect for the rights of all New Yorkers to peaceful enjoyment of our great city.”
The New York Times is reporting some 200 arrests of protesters. Included was New York City Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, who was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. A report had him bleeding from the head.
But, Occupy Wall St scored a short-lived victory this morning when a judge ruled that Bloomberg cannot lawfully evict protesters from Zuccotti Park and has issued a temporary restraining order against New York City. Unfortunately, a New York judge later in the day upheld the city’s dismantling of the Occupy Wall Street encampment, saying that the protesters’ first amendment rights don’t entitle them to camp out indefinitely in the plaza. Supreme Court Justice Michael Stallman denied a motion by the demonstrators seeking to be allowed back into the park with their tents and sleeping bags
As local municipalities are forcibly closing Occupy sites across the nation, extremely disturbing information is coming to light.
In an interview this morning with the BBC, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan revealed that she spoke with officials from other cities over the phone before a Monday morning raid that led to the eviction of hundreds of Occupy Oakland protesters and the arrests of many.
“I was recently on a conference call with 18 cities across the country who had the same situation,” says Quan, who goes on to claim that the movement, in her opinion, had transition from a political movement to one marred by anarchists.
Mayor Quan’s admittance that she spoke with other city leaders opens up speculation that a series of raids in recent days may have been a coordinated strategy worked out by cities around the country. Crackdowns in Albany, Denver, Salt Lake City and elsewhere in only the past few days suggest that a plan of action was developed byt the mayors of those cities and may be at the root of the mass evictions, which have been ongoing since Saturday.
Now, the Daily Kos is reporting that according to one Justice official, each of those actions was coordinated with help from Homeland Security, the FBI and other federal police agencies.
And while, here in Los Angeles, City officials have not responded in the same manner are these other cities, it was reported today that LA Police Department Chief Charlie Beck said Tuesday that protesters and officials are working on a timeline for closing down the camp.
Occupy L.A, police and city officials are scheduled to meet today. Beck said of the meeting, “I expect it will be a long one.”