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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs