Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Occupy Wall Street might be no more

The near two-month Occupy Wall Street protest in New York City might be over. After being evicted from its location this morning (more on that below), the protest movement learned that it cannot return.

The New York Times sent the following news alert at 4:58 p.m. EST:
A state Supreme Court judge upheld the city’s right to enforce rules that bar the Occupy Wall Street protesters from camping at Zuccotti Park.

The judge, Michael D. Stallman, wrote in his ruling Tuesday afternoon, “The court is mindful of the movements’ First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and peaceable assembly.” But he added, quoting from another case, “Even protected speech is not equally permissible in all places and at all times.” He said that the protesters “had not demonstrated that the rules adopted by the owners of the property, concededly after the demonstrations began, are not reasonable time place and manner restrictions permitted under the First Amendment.”
This morning, under the ally of darkness, police moved in and physically removed the protesters. And the Daily Kos suggests that something important was missing during the eviction. One liberal commentator adds that what is happening in New York echoes across the country. And Mother Jones suggests it has an exclusive account of what took place in the early morning hours.

The Committee to Protect Journalists also voiced its displeasure at the treatment of journalists covering the events in New York.
"We are alarmed by New York law enforcement's treatment of journalists covering the eviction of Occupy Wall Street today," said Carlos Lauria, CPJ senior coordinator for the Americas. "Journalists must be allowed to cover news events without fear of arrest and harassment. It is particularly disturbing that government officials sought to block any coverage of the event at all."
At least seven journalists were arrested in New York today, according to press reports. Early this morning, freelancer Julie Walker was detained for several hours after covering the arrests of demonstrators during the eviction from Zuccotti Park, NPR said. The New York Daily News reported that Walker was wearing her NYPD-issued press pass at the time of her arrest. She was charged with disorderly conduct and later posted on Twitter that she was out of jail and back to covering the protests.
It would appear New York mayor Michael Bloomberg has some explaining to do. 

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