Sunday, December 18, 2011

Police State: Busted for tweeting during OWS

Police escalation in New York as my brother and 17 other people are arrested for observing an occupation.

Monday morning marked yet another Day of Action for the Occupy Wall Street movement. Eight cities on the West Coast attempted to shut down ports. (The hashtag #PortShutdown on Twitter is moving a mile a minute.) In New York City, there was a solidarity march targeting Goldman Sachs that began at 7:30 a.m. The march was well attended, peaceful and culminated in a street-theater Vampire Squid press conference held in front of the Goldman Sachs building. Everyone was laughing and having a great time, and my brother John and I were there to tweet and take pictures. As things calmed down after the fake press conference, word began to spread that protesters should reconvene at the Winter Garden, a nearby public atrium owned by Brookfield Properties (the same company that owns Zuccotti Park).

John and I walked over with a couple of other media people. He covered the Zuccotti Park eviction for Salon, live-tweets most of the OWS events in the city, and has gotten to know many of the independent journalists who document the movement. We arrived at the designated area, which felt like an enormous common space in a mall. The main floor was decorated with Christmas trees, festive lights and public tables and chairs, with a wide marble staircase leading up to a balcony that overlooked the space.

The protesters — maybe 100 or so — had gathered in the center of the floor and were dancing and chanting, “Occupy Brookfield!” A long line of police began to form in the periphery, and John and the other media people dispersed to take pictures. Read More