**** latest from OccupyWallStreet at OccupyWallSt.org: A little after 9:00pm tonight, police moved in and used billy clubs and pepper spray on protestors. Several members of the media team were arrested.
It’s hard to tell from the OccupyWallSt videos what exactly sparked the crackdown. But I doubt that the media team had done anything to provoke the kind of action they were subject to. None of the organizers or media team members looked like loaded springs looking for trouble. My best guess is that the NYPD was given the go ahead to clear the park tonight and getting the media team out of the way was the first step.
NYPD cracking heads and pepper spraying protesters under cover of darkness
It figures New York’s “finest” would wait until after dark to break out the mace and nightsticks. This video is from We Are Change. It’s pretty chaotic, but it shows police beating and pepper spraying #OccupyWallStreet protesters. These thugs don’t seem to understand that their Gestapo tactics are having the effect of bringing more media attention to a protest that was largely ignored for a couple of weeks.
Here’s a report from the FOX News reporter who was there:
In the evening, crowds surged past barriers and NYPD officers moved in to contain the protesters. By many accounts, mayhem broke out.
Officers, many wearing white shorts indicating supervisor rank, swatted protesters with batons and sprayed them with mace, video from the scene showed.
Fox 5’s Isen and Brennan were there and witnessed the chaos. At one point, Brennan was hit in the abdomen by a police baton and Isen got irritant in his eyes. Both journalists were all right and continued to cover the protests and arrests.
If you follow the link to the FOX 5 website there is a clip of the reporter who got hit explaining what happened.
The cops set up a barricade at an intersection. The crowd pushed forward. About twenty arrests were made. So far I have seen three different clips (including the one posted above) of the same one officer swinging his baton.
The officer is not advancing, he is standing his ground. He is swinging his baton back and forth about level with the midsections of the people in front of him. No one is getting hit in the head.
There is a metal barricade pushed back behind the officer, and it appears that other officers are kneeling right behind him on the ground making arrests. When the crowd backs up the officer doesn’t move forward.
There are a lot of cops around, but most of them are forming a wall facing the crowd. They are not riot police. In the videos you can hear the cops telling people to back up.
No reporters were arrested. The crowd doesn’t seem afraid, in fact many of them are pushing forward to take pictures.
Here’s a question – what was the crowd trying to do? It was after 9:00 pm and the march held earlier was over.
I looks to me like the protesters were trying to provoke a response and they succeeded.
Behind the scenes in recent days, union leaders have debated how to respond to Occupy Wall Street. In internal discussions, some voiced worries that if labor were perceived as trying to co-opt the movement, it might alienate the protesters and touch off a backlash.
Others said they were wary of being embarrassed by the far-left activists in the group who have repeatedly denounced the United States government.
Those concerns may be renewed after a disturbance about 8 p.m. Wednesday as the march was breaking up. The police said they arrested eight protesters around the intersection of Broadway and Wall Street, after people rushed barriers and began spilling into the street. While a couple of witnesses said that officers used pepper spray to clear the streets, Paul J. Browne, the Police Department’s chief spokesman, said that one officer “possibly” used it. Several protesters were also arrested at State and Bridge Streets at 9:30 p.m.; the police said one protester was charged with assault after an officer was knocked off his scooter.
All those people and all those cameras and nobody saw what started it.
Every one of the protesters appears to have a camera phone. Why aren’t there any clips posted that show the beginning of the disturbance? You would think if there was video showing the cops attacking peaceful protesters without any provocation that it would be posted.