Saturday, December 17, 2011

Report from Occupy Duarte Square

A minute-by-minute account by Mimi Rosenberg of Building Bridges
Aired on WBAI (99.5FM), Saturday, Dec. 17

We haven't been in the park for about 45 minutes now. People are now in the streets heading for the tunnel going to New Jersey. The crowd has swelled to about 2500. This is indeed our streets, our city. We are the origins of the wealth of this city! It's not clear where we're headed now but we are approaching the Lincoln Tunnel. People driving by are honking their horns and giving high fives to the marchers. There are doctors and nurses in the crowd, dressed in white, here to talk about universal health care. There are artists among us with their art objects, as we march towards the Lincoln Tunnel. It's not clear where we're going - now we've passed the Holland Tunnel and it looks like we're about to stop traffic on Canal Street itself!

Actually we seem to be headed for the Manhattan Bridge now, with what seems to be a crowd of about 3000 - because as we march we seem to be picking up people pied piper style. So that's where we are now and we're getting ready to block some traffic on Canal Street. This is amazing! We've actually circled back to Duarte Square, and people are now scaling the fence and they are taking over and indeed, we have occupied Duarte Square!

This is including people with their art objects. It is actually extremely exciting and I'm not sure the police are able to  react because they have locked themselves out of the park! It looks like they are now using chain snippers to cut the fence, since they certainly don't have the physical agility to scale it. People are setting up yellow Occupy Wall Street flags and more and more of them are going over the fence. The police were obviously unprepared, so we have effectively re-taken Duarte Park!

Occupy Wall Street has done what it does -- it has taken a physical space. This action is about asking Trinity Church,  why can't this space be taken? They are no longer asking, they have moved as one and they are taking that space.

The police have torn down the fence and are arresting protestors. People are being dragged along the ground. The police continue to engage in  arrests as we speak. The people are actually fighting back. We'll see how this develops, but it is quite fierce. The fact of the matter is that indeed the park and the streets belong to the protestors regardless of the arrests being made.

Police in riot gear are now arriving. The people are blocking the street surrounding the park and they are going nowhere! Dozens of arrests have occurred so far. Clearly this is a developing action. Traffic has ground to a halt and the activity of the police has also ground to a halt.

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