News

Occupy Movement Seeks Renewed Physical Presence

Peter Fedynsky

The Occupy Wall Street movement is once again seeking a physical presence in New York City, following its dispersal by police from a lower Manhattan park in November.  Our correspondent reports the attempt renews tensions between protesters and law enforcement.

“This is god**** our park!  This is our park!  The real people’s park!  It’s a real public park," screamed a protester.

This impassioned Occupy Wall Street protester recently denounced New York police as bullies for enforcing a regulation that limits the size of signs in public parks.  At issue was this long banner.  Protesters say the regulation applies to commercial vendors, not public expression.

The standoff took place Wednesday in Union Square Park, after police forcibly dispersed an attempt by protesters a few days earlier to reoccupy Zuccotti Park, about three kilometers away, where the Occupy movement began last September.

Sherman Jackson, an Occupy media representative, says confrontations with police over territory draw media focus away from the movement’s core message of corporate greed and income inequality.  Jackson says he defers to those who support a physical presence, but thinks it is not necessary.

“The fact is that we use social media, we use Twitter, we use Facebook, we e-mail, we text one another, and we can muster a couple of thousand people within an hour to gather at any spot that we ask them to gather at," said Jackson.

Protester and saxophonist Dave Intrator says a physical presence is essential.  He adds that the act of human beings assembling in a public space to talk politics, exchange ideas and to play music has become an exotic luxury.   He claims that peaceful gatherings, though often noisy and messy, threaten corporate interests that see the world in terms of efficiency and profits.

“This in itself is an ideal of freedom, which is under attack in our modern, branded, corporatized, pre-formatted world," said Intrator. "And so, with respect to this concept of freedom, having this space is central to Occupy.”

Meanwhile, Zuccotti Park is again filled with tourists and people eating lunch.  But a substantial police presence and barricades stacked at the ready betray lingering tension between protesters and law enforcement.  Attorney Gary Darche says that tension made him think twice about going to the park.

“It’s not a comfortable situation between the security forces and I don’t know who’s coming and who’s going, who’s taking my picture," said Darche. "For all I know - maybe I sound paranoid - you could be someone from some organization.  I don’t know.”

While protesters have moved to another location, a portable police tower maintains a vigil over Zuccotti Park.  As for the disputed sign at Union Square Park, protesters complied with police demands not to display it; they simply cut it in half and stood side by side holding each end.  

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prisoni
X
Heather Murdock
July 01, 2015 8:59 PM
As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs