by Jeremy Leaming
Though the First Amendment was given short shrift during the early morning raid of Zuccotti Park, birthplace of Occupy Wall Street, it appears that peaceful assembly and political protest will not be easily squelched.
Nonetheless, authorities, such as those under the guidance of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, seem bent on trying.
As reported by Brain Stelter for The New York Times' Media Decoder blog, “many journalists were blocked from observing and interviewing the protesters. Some called it a ‘media blackout’ and said in interviews that they believed the police efforts were a deliberate attempt to tamp down coverage of the operation."
For Daily Kos, Barbara Morrill wrote, “When New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg decided to stage a middle of the night raid on the Occupy Wall Street protestors in Zuccotti Park, there was one thing he didn’t want … media coverage.” Morrill links to coverage by gothamist that says reporters with NPR and The New York Times were arrested trying to cover the clearing of the park.
The Times reports that nearly 200 were arrested in the early Tuesday raid. Similar raids, most just as aggressive, if not more so, have unfolded at other OWS encampments nationwide.
Last month officers in riot gear descended upon OccupyBoston protestors, arresting more than 100, including a legal observer with the National Lawyers Guild, and a recent attempt in Oakland to clear protestors turned violent.
Yesterday, the NLG and the ACLU lodged a lawsuit against the Oakland Policy Department (OPD) to stop the authorities from using violence against protestors.
A statement posted earlier today at OccupyWallStreet said the effort to raise awareness about greed run amok on Wall Street, and growing economic inequality is not likely to die with the clearing of Zuccotti Park.
The statement reads:
Two months ago a few hundred New Yorkers set up an encampment at the doorstop of Wall Street. Since then Occupy Wall Street has become a national and even international symbol – with similarly styled occupations popping up in cities and towns across America and around the world. A growing popular movement has significantly altered the national narrative about our economy, our democracy, and our future.
Americans are talking about the consolidation of wealth and power in our society, and the stranglehold that the top 1% have over our political system. More and more Americans are seeing the crises of our economy and our democracy as systemic problems, that require collective action to remedy. More and more Americans are identifying as part of the 99%, and saying ‘enough!’