I got the text at 1:07 AM: URGENT: Hundreds of police mobilizing around Zuccotti. Eviction in process.
I made the decision to go down there at 1:08 AM.
I got off the train at Rector Street, muscle memory taking me towards the nearest exit to Liberty Plaza until a transit worker stopped me and told me, “You can’t leave from there. They are evicting people from the park tonight.”
I exited through a different exit, and joined three men bolting down Broadway towards Liberty Plaza. It was already blocked off at Rector Street–two blocks away from the actual plaza–and cops in full riot gear were lining up, assembling, staring us down.
I didn’t know that Liberty Plaza was being destroyed in that moment. I didn’t know that until I saw the picture later, and starred at it in horrified disbelief.
You don’t need a metaphor to describe the horrors that just happened–but if 5,000 wonderful, radical donated books being destroyed by the NYPD and thrown into the back of a garbage truck to be ground into landfill isn’t a metaphor, I don’t know what is.
The police came towards us. I was live tweeting when I realized there was a funny smell and something in my eyes that was making them burn–the police had teargassed all of us. I was shoved against a wall by a cop with a riot shield telling me to, “Keep it moving.” Many of the cops beat protestors. Their batons were out. It was violence.
We didn’t know what to do or where to go. The police did not have the power in numbers, but they had the authority to push us into corners and intimidate us. They surrounded us threatening arrests.
We took to the streets–literally, not the sidewalks–and marched to Foley Square. Cops surrounded us there, deploying even more police who surrounded us. We continued to march…
The Brooklyn Bridge closed. NYPD were deployed from across the city–and filled the streets with sirens and flashing lights. The people poured into Foley Square–the occupation is far from over, and I hope–as I’ve said many times–that it is just beginning.
It’s just chapter two now.