Around 1 a.m. on Tuesday, the NYPD entered the Occupy Wall Street camp at Zuccotti Park and issued eviction notices so that sanitation crews could clean the area. Within 45 minutes, police began disassembling the encampment, including taking down tents and tables and arresting around 200 people who had refused to leave.
What was once a bustling community now lies desolate and empty, while police in riot gear stand guard. Some protesters walked by the encampment chanting, "We're still here!"
Protestors were told that they could return to the park in several hours, but without tents, tarps, or sleeping bags. With temperatures in New York City forecasted to drop to freezing over the next few days, this action seems to shine light on how officials want to freeze out the protest.
The raid by NYPD comes as police in other cities nation-wide have had similar crackdowns on OWS parks.
Those who were evicted from the encampment regrouped at Canal street and Sixth Avenue, where the OWS General Assembly – the movement’s legislative body – met and vowed to reoccupy the park.
"This movement can't be contained in one square block in lower Manhattan. It is bigger than that," read an announcement on the Occupy Wall Street website. "You can't evict an idea whose time had come."
Timothy Gordon, 20, returned to the empty park once he heard the news, after spending a few days at home in upstate New York to tend to his ailing father.
“All of it has been thrown in the trash. All that I have left is what’s in this bag,” Gordon said, gesturing to a small knapsack that he carried. “I’m never leaving this park again. I’ll just keep walking around and around.”
New York City Mayor Bloomberg said at a press conference this morning that an "unfortunate minority" of OWS protesters had made the conditions in Zuccotti Park intolerable, and thus he had to evict the protestors for the safety of the occupiers inside.
"Some have argued to let them stay indefinitely. Others said to wait for winter and hope it drove the protesters away, but inaction was not an option," he said. "We could not wait for someone in the park to get killed, or to injure another first responder, before acting."
Perhaps the protesters don’t have to necessarily occupy Zuccotti Park to effectively Occupy Wall Street? With the security on the movement hinging on the ability for the occupiers to hold on to the proverbial Mecca of the movement, could their inability to occupy be foreboding for the security of the movement overall? On September 17, people from across the nation came together to protest the economic injustices that were perpetuated by the wealthiest 1% America. Nearly two months later, the question that lingers amongst the visitors of Zuccotti Park, could this be the end of Occupy Wall Street?
Photo Credit: Deanna Gillen