Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Occupy protesters forcibly evicted

Washington, November 16, 2011(Tehelkanews)

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg really knows how to go for the jugular. Similar to President Barack Obama\'s covert strike against Osama bin Laden, Mr. Bloomberg sent police officers in riot gear into the very epicentre of the Occupy Wall Street movement, Manhattan\'s Zuccotti Park, at 1 a.m. on Tuesday and forcibly evicted every peaceful protester there.

In an action that some branded as an attempt to wipe Occupy movement off the map, Mr. Bloomberg cited health and safety reasons for the eviction, which also saw police deploy large bulldozers to clear out the protesters\' belongings from the park.

According to eyewitness accounts, police ripped up protesters\' tents and deployed tear gas, pepper spray and a sound cannon. Media reported that some protesters assembled at the middle of the park, and raised slogans, "Whose park? Our park!"

Similar action

The clearing of Zuccotti Park comes close on the heels of similar developments in Oakland, California, which has seen the most violent police action to date, against Occupy protesters.

On Monday, the police entered the Occupy Oakland camp at Frank Ogawa plaza and, again citing health and safety reasons, tore down protesters\' tents and forcibly removed them, arresting at least 20 in the process.

At a news conference in New York, Mr. Bloomberg however said, "The law that created Zuccotti Park required that it be open for the public to enjoy for passive recreation 24 hours a day." He added that ever since the Occupy movement began, that law had not been complied with because the protesters had made the park unavailable to anyone else.

"I have become increasingly concerned... that the occupation was coming to pose a health and fire safety hazard to the protesters and to the surrounding community," said Mr. Bloomberg, noting the park\'s owners had on Monday requested the city\'s assistance in enforcing the so-called "no sleeping and camping" rules.

Leaving little doubt as to his role, Mr. Bloomberg said , "But make no mistake the final decision to act was mine."

Return possible

Yet early on Tuesday morning, wire services quoted the National Lawyers Guild saying it had obtained a court injunction that allowed the protesters to return with tents to the park. "The guild says the injunction prevents the city from enforcing park rules on Occupy Wall Street protesters," reports noted.

Mr. Michael Bloomberg said the city was aware of the court order but had not yet seen it, and that the City of New York planned "to go court immediately".

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