Mass arrests follow OWS return to Zuccotti Park
Published Mar 20, 2012 10:34 PM
Photo: Julian Kliner
March 17 was the sixth-month anniversary of Occupy Wall Street. In the late evening, a crowd of hundreds gathered in historic Zuccotti Park, now dubbed Liberty Plaza. Many organizers and progressive forces attending the annual Left Forum at Pace University, very close to the park, joined OWS activists.
The youth gathered in the park for hours, playing drums and refusing to leave. The crowd gradually swelled as the evening went on. A small contingent of youth from Workers World Party circled the square chanting, “Just like Ho Chi Minh! Occupy is gonna win!” Others joined in this anti-imperialist chant.
Michael Moore and Cornel West, who had addressed the Left Forum earlier in the evening, joined the crowd and gave words of support.
When the New York Police Department announced that the park was closed, several hundred youth sat down together, joining arms. They insisted on their right to stay there, citing a recent court ruling that required the park to remain open. When the police refused to listen, they chanted, “We are not afraid.”
Police pulled protesters out of the crowd and handcuffed them. They swung batons and pushed people to the ground. The media reported that police actions injured several people. These included shoving a woman’s head against the hood of a car and pushing a man’s head into a plateglass window. Another woman suffered a seizure because of a forceful arrest, and then police denied her help from OWS emergency medical technicians. It took loud protests from the crowd to get an ambulance to the scene.
A youth who witnessed the police attack told Workers World, “All I could see was batons high in the air, coming down on people.” Some of the 73 people who were arrested reported being held, handcuffed and left on city buses for hours, before finally being taken to holding cells.
A march was called the following evening in support of the arrestees. At the closing panel of the Left Forum, speakers urged the audience to attend the march and support the arrested youth.
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