Occupy New Year's Eve: 68 Arrested in Zuccotti Park, Director Sam Levinson Captures Arrest Video Near Union Square
New Year's Eve was meant to be a day of celebration for Occupy Wall Street, that night's festivities calling itself Occupy 2012—flyers advertised "food, games, and fun," but the main goal was to re-take Zuccotti Park, which had been blocked off by barricades. The gathering began at 7 PM and continued peacefully for several hours, but shortly after 11 PM—just after the park's barricades had been breached and protesters were standing upon them—cops descended upon the group of around 500 and began arresting people:
"They (police) got very aggressive and started pushing people and pepper-spraying people," protester Jason Amadi, 27, of San Jose, California, said Sunday. "I got pepper-sprayed in the face."
The protesters said they worked at sections of the park in teams of twos and threes, retreating only when police converged and pulled the barricades back.
One person was accused of assaulting a police officer, who had cuts on his hands, but as ever, it went both ways. At 13th and 6th near Union Square, where police were arresting protesters, actress Ellen Barkin, who was walking to her apartment, was also targeted by cops, and tweeted in outrage:
Just threatened on my street by NYPD,cop shoved me,both hands,onto sidewalk..Is it a crime 2 stand in the street in NY?WTF is going on here?[...]
Just before Barkin said she was shoved, she began chronicling the police scuffles, writing, "Walking home...13th & 6th, police making random arrests of non protesters.Young girl in police van screaming"I'm just trying 2 get home" and then "People being thrown in police vans, arrested for "jaywalking"What happened to the NYPD of my youth?Who are u all?Shame shame on u all."
Later on, Barkin slammed New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, writing, "Fuck all of u,Bloomberg & every1 goose-stepping behind u.I cannot believe what I am seeing.U protect nothing.U ARE the violence in my city."
Video of the occurrence was shot by her boyfriend, Another Happy Day director Sam Levinson, and showed her getting pretty badass when a cop touched her patronizingly: "Take your motherfucking hands off of me," she growled. We would have said the same. Watch it: