The Battle of Zuccotti Park

Under cover of night, police cleared Occupy Wall Street encampments out of New York’s Zuccotti Park. The best summary of the events comes from Sarah Seltzer at Alternet. There’s a more skeletal take in the Twitter feed of @OccupyOregon.

1:20 a.m. Police are bringing in bulldozers.
1:20 a.m. Police are in riot gear.
1:20 a.m. Occupiers chanting “This is what a police state looks like.”
1:20 a.m. Brooklyn bridge is closed.
1:20 a.m. Subway stops are closed.
1:27 a.m. Unconfirmed reports that police are planning to sweep everyone.
1:43 a.m. Helicopters overhead.
2:03 a.m. Massive Police Presence at Canal and Broadway
2:07 a.m. Pepper spray deployed – reports of at least one reporter sprayed
2:10 a.m. Press barred from entering Liberty Square
2:15 a.m. Occupiers who have been dispersed are regrouping at Foley Square
2:29 a.m. Press helicopters evicted from airspace. NYTimes reporter arrested.
2:32 a.m. All subways but R shut down
2:44 a.m. NYPD destroys OWS Library. 5,000 donated books in dumpster.
2:44 a.m. Defiant occupiers barricaded Liberty Square kitchen
2:55 a.m. NYC council-member Ydanis Rodríguez arrested and bleeding from head.
3:05 a.m. NYPD cutting down trees in Liberty Square
3:13 a.m. NYPD deploying sound cannon
3:15 a.m. NYPD destroying personal items. Occupiers prevented from leaving with their possessions.
3:16 a.m. Occupiers linking arms around riot police
3:36 a.m. Kitchen tent reported teargassed. Police moving in with zip cuffs.

Two hours and the park is cleared. The library, which had been protected for months from inclement weather, and which – let’s face it – had taken on some historical value, all trashed. Alson Kilkenny reports that journalists were not fully allowed to witness this.

Andrew Katz, a digital journalist at Columbia Journalism School, told police, “I’m press,” to which an officer replied, “don’t care.” Anthony De Rosa, Social Media Editor at Reuters, spoke with the CBS news desk, who were told to “leave the airspace above Zuccotti” by the NYPD.

Laurie Penny describes the square as having been under “total lockdown,” and the Editor-in-chief at Byline Beat & ‘Connoisseur reported almost being arrested twice by police despite presenting his press badge. Additionally, Lindsey Christ, an education reporter at NY1 News, tweeted reporters and photographers were thrown to the ground and “pushed to the wall if they get in front of the wrong officer.”

And lest anyone think it’s mostly just lowly bloggers being shut out of the OWS raid coverage, Democracy Now’s Ryan Devereaux reports police ripped the press pass off an NBC news anchor (ripping passes off press is a familiar police intimidation tactic to anyone who has been covering the OWS movement,) and the New York Observer tweeted “here with credentialed photogs from NYT, WSJ and Reuters they’re also being barred from #occupywallstreet.”

I’m in D.C., and have been spending time in the relative calm of our local Occupy camp for a story to come later today. The general sense I’m getting: This was inevitable, every serious camp has plans for how to handle a raid, it changes nothing.

There’s been a tension in #OWS between bad police action coverage and good police action coverage. The bad has come recently, with reports of rapes and violence in Occupy camps. The good, activists believe, has come whenever police cracked down on Occupiers, looking like bullies.

(Photo: Jim Brady.)