#OWS Updates: NYPD Kicks Hundreds Out of Union Square, Tensions Continue, DHS Dumps Surveillance Document

(Updated below)

As the word got out about the new Occupation in New York City's Union Square which looked so much like the dawn of Occupy Wall Street, activists began to flock there and regroup. On Monday night, I walked around and enjoyed the new atmosphere, but was worried to see a large number of cops congregated blocks away for no apparent reason--obviously, given the PR disaster that was his handling of Zuccotti Park, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has no intention of letting any occupation grow that large and his position so precarious.

Last night, it what felt like a replay of many evictions this fall and winter, the word went out on Twitter that another standoff was coming. A large line of cops began advancing towards the makeshift encampment at the Southeast corner of the park. According to reports on Twitter, anti-terrorism officials/DHS officials were also present.

It became obvious that they weren't going to let the activists stay in the park, and as the cops moved in they even barricaded off the southern end of the Park. Many lifelong New Yorkers joked that they had never seen Union Square--known in classic New York style for both its slight dodginess and its bustle of economic and social activity-- blocked off this way before, not even during the worst days after September 11th, 2001.  

Gothamist reported:

This morning, just after midnight, the NYPD moved in, forcing several hundred people out of onto the sidewalk, and barricading off the southern end of the park. At least one arrest was made—and a protester went into labor during the initial standoff, according to multiple observers.

Many protesters have said that they were absolutely traumatized and scarred by the level of violence cops used against them this weekend, and so there were few arrests and confrontations after the reportedly pregnant woman was allowed to leave.

And Alison Kilkenny noted: "The crowd assembled at the edge of the park, chanting, "Zuccotti is everywhere."

Other reports say the city will allow the protesters in small numbers, but once they start sleeping over in large numbers, expect more of the same.

UPDATE: A confrontation is continuing today in the park: 


Union Square will also be the kick-off point for an #OWS-endorsed event: a march for Trayvon Martin.

In other Occupy news, our friends at Truthout got a number of documents today from the Department of Homeland Security revealing their treatment and surveillance of Occupy protests around the country.

Reporters are combing over the information now--help them out here.

Want a more cheerful look at the last 6 months of #OWS? Here's a celebratory video, set to ABBA:

AlterNet / By Sarah Seltzer

Posted at March 21, 2012, 3:40am

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