Blood Shed in Zuccotti Park
It was a rough day down in Zuccotti Park today, the roughest I have witnessed so far. For now, all I want to do is soak in a hot bath and hope my stiff neck settles.
It is indeed a thin line on the front line with riot police surging forward, protestors mounting a counter surge from behind, only a metal barricade separating me from the big arms of the police. One of the police officers objected to my filming with my iPhone. He ripped it out of my hand, my iPhone, my lifeline! Somehow I managed to get it back and I was struck by the kindness of the surrounding crowd who were concerned as to my welfare, grateful not to have been struck down in the crush.
The situation soon settled but my guess is that tensions are running high. Two months after the initial occupation of Zuccotti Park a certain faction seems keen to up the ante whilst the more moderate voices are stressing quiet force without violence. The force of will, argument, debate, consolidation. So many times it is stressed out loud that the police lining the park and the surrounding streets are indeed part of the 99% and in the long calms between the storms I see good relations between representatives of the two. But then something happens, details known only to a few, and suddenly the melee is on again. And in the middle of this mêlée is no place to be – not with the batons, riot shields and the deep, dark blue sleeves of the heavy arm of the law pushing back the crowd of which I am a part. Feeling very much like the little old lady from Pasadena . . . if I lose my prescription sunglasses I will be blind. I have already lost my regular glasses and the sunglasses are all I have to see my way till the new ones are ready. Please, I don’t want to lose my teeth. I have stitches in my gums from dental work the other day. I have shit teeth as it is and I spend way too much time on dental visits as it is. I don’t want to twist an ankle nor break a leg. I live on the 5th floor of a walk-up.
But you know what, there are plenty of people out there without health cover, without jobs, without roofs over their heads and . . .their numbers are growing.
Yes indeed it is a fine line between the protestors and the police but all that separates any of us from the street is a brick wall. Speaking metaphorically and I hope you know what I mean. We, any of us living in the security behind our brick walls, whatever, might wake one day to walls that have crumbled. Through no fault of our own and if we care enough about ourselves, we have to care for others.
My stiff neck is about to soften under the influence of a stiff drink. I am grateful to have made it home with only a stiff nick and some mud here and there on there on my clothes. One young man’s bloodied face probably needed stitches. Realising later that I had dropped my umbrella I returned to the now empty space where the vigorous melee took place and found it lying on the ground near to one lonely boot and a puddle of blood running in the gentle rain . . .
Also, I am struggling with the editing of this without my regular glasses. Please feel free to pick holes and maybe even have some fun with some active editing. You know how much I love to hear from you! I have clicked the ABC editing box and have been reproached with a slew of green underlines, that pesky passive tense, which just for tonight I am letting go.
But as Shakespeare himself asked “to be, or not to be? ” That is indeed the question.
This movement? It is not going to fade away. Not yet and not now.
Late addition and what retired Philadelphia police officer Ray Lewis, who was arrested earlier, has to say about Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s management of the situation.
I was just thinking the other day, how Mayor Bloomberg is in the top 1% of the 1%. No one, I think, has been pointing out this irony.
I feel remiss. This has been a big part of the protest movement at the coal face. Calls were issued throughout the park this afternoon for the Mayor’s dismissal. Mayor Bloomberg supported the democratic right to protest but then he called in the police in the wee small hours of the morning to clear the site. And if you ask me, which no-one has nor will, the site – Zuccotti Park, functions with far more freedom and space without the tents!
I hope this is all worth while in the end. Is there anybody listening?
Maggie, so many different people are listening and becoming involved in their own way. Meet retired Philadelphia police officer, Ray Lewis (why on earth do I keep thinking he is Ray Kelly???) and read what he has to say! http://www.salon.com/2011/11/17/retired_officer_cops_work_for_the_1_percent/
Powerful post, Patti…
HL, thank you so much for taking the time to read. And always, thank you for your comment. Take care!
you wrote: “One of the police officers objected to my filming with my iPhone. He ripped it out of my hand, my iPhone, my lifeline! Somehow I managed to get it back and I was struck by the kindness of the surrounding crowd who were concerned as to my welfare, grateful not to have been struck down in the crush…”
my question: is filming with an iPhone, cruel? aggressive? full of violence? NO!!! it’s a crime to try to steal one’s iPhone! should be persecuted by law!
and thank you for your comment there …
Frizztext, I am not sure where to start in reply to your comment for which I am most grateful. I was so shocked and had I not been able to get it back I would have become more angry than I was, forgetting that it was a telephone/camera and seeing it as something to fight for. The conclusion being that I would then have been arrested because I suspect I might have jumped the barricade for it . . . thank you so much for your support and concerns, it is very much appreciated.
take care of you – and your camera, mobile phone – they have the license to rob – and to spoil your eyes with pepper-spray …
Will do, thank you! I am so hoping the situation has settled, without it getting worse before it is better . . .
The policeman took your iPhone?! What an arse! I’m glad you came away from that relatively unscathed. it appears that both sides are upping the ante and your lovely mayor lit the touchpaper. Here in London, legal action is now being sought after the protesters at St. Paul’s defied the eviction notice and stayed put after the deadline for them to leave by 6pm Thursday passed.
Keep bringing us those brilliant photos, but be careful. We need you to be with us for a while.
He didn’t like my filming! For what it’s worth the film is a crazy roller-coaster ride of screams “We’re not violent!” Not sure if I caught the officer telling me to “get that outta my face” before he grabbed it.
As to London, I understand they are now occupying what was a USB bank. I have so many photos over the course of the events, as indeed do so many others I have had the pleasure of meeting. The tents might be down but documentaries are in process and collectives are gathering in hopes of charting the progress of change. Without violence, it is hoped!
Your posts have been like having our own private eyes on the ground. Stunning shots and insight. I fully supported the Occupy movement at the outset. However, they have gone from social protest to rabble. “Sound and fury, signifying nothing” They have no coherent message or agenda apart from “we’re not happy” and “rich people are greedy”. Not exactly a new message. They have no practical solutions or input. They seem like whiny 2 year olds who keep repeating, ‘It’s not fair!” Their refusal to move to get the park(s) cleaned makes them appear as anarchists and not protesters. Keep up the good work but please don’t risk life, limb, glasses, or iPhone.
Stay tuned Alan! The “rabble” lot are easy prey for certain media outlets who are keen to promote the whiny toddlers. There are some wonderfully eloquent voices down there in the park but because it is a “leaderless” movement, these are the voices not heard in mainstream press. Plus, as I overheard from a media man in the park the other day, certain events at Penn State hogged that week’s news . . . As for the hygiene of ZP, they really did go to town on keeping it clean down there! And I have to tell you that I have met some of the most wonderful people down there but more of that later! As for being the eye on the ground, happy to keep a certain distance from the asphalt. Thank you for your concern!
I Love your article nice post 🙂
Jake, thank you for your company!
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Thank you for this HL and for your fascinating insight into the world of NYC real-estate dealing. The tip of the iceberg, perhaps?
I empathize with the protestors as I’ve never earned enough money to make ends meet… much less get ahead. But, be careful Patti and stay safe.
Thank you Theresa for your heartfelt comment. In all the noise of the protests, empathy is the rich vein of feeling running throughout the process. Let’s hope it develops the strength needed to re-dress the imbalance.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!
Occupy Vancouver was dismantled today – from the Art Gallery Downtown.
There are some valid concerns out there. But there are also those who either are not able to express themselves or else are not aware of why they were there and why they protested. But I think it is good to be made aware that it is not ok that there are those who are not making ends meet.
Thanks for keeping us informed – and do be careful!
Kris, you are so on the button regarding the inability of those to express themselves properly but within the occupation (as far as my limited observations go) I have been struck by the extraordinary level of care, and tolerance, that exists within such a wide and fascinating group of people. Plus, with the reluctance of any one in particular to assume leadership . . .
Best to you in Vancouver and thank you for your concern!
I really thank you for your posts Patti, and grateful you have “kept a certain distance from the asphalt”, and that you got your iPhone back. It’s outrageous and yet not unexpected that police smashing people with battons don’t want to be filmed. I hope more of the eloquent voices speaking out are heard. I fear without leadership and strong voices the movement will not survive to make a lasting affect.
There are people, even in small towns like Driggs, Idaho who are listening. . . imagine 16 people with their signs walking the few short blocks of the main street through town.
The Driggs 16! How wonderful is that! Do they know they need a good bath before going out to get a job? Certain politicians don’t seem to recognise empathy for others in others. I agree with you about the need for the more eloquent voices to be heard – they are indeed out there but with the leaderless nature of the movement so far. . . . Bill Dobbs has a strong voice – and I have him on my iPhone! (yet to be downloaded).
Happy Thanksgiving and thank you for such a riveting comment!
Great post, PK. Thank you for the insight/s. Take good care of yourself. How long till the new glasses?
Thank you Gaynor! Insight from the almost blind (this could be taken any way . . .) but new glasses now showing me a brighter picture!
on several posters I saw the word “fracking” but I couldn’t find out what it means.
Hello Tom, perhaps this link Don’t Frack With NY! might help!
Here are some photos from a demonstration in Oslo:
Thank you CG for sharing your photos from Oslo. The situation has calmed down in NY although I suspect it is now in a state of ferment with more to come. What is the latest view from Oslo?
Cardinal Guzman, thank you so much for the link! Here’s hoping for more peaceful times everywhere.