15 November 2011

#mediablackout

Well, this is familiar.

The NYPD cleared out Occupy Wall Street last night "for their own health and safety," arresting 200+ of them (for their own health and safety), including a city councilman (for his own health and safety). Protesters were told that they could return, but could not bring tarps, tents, or sleeping bags. Meanwhile, police threw the 5500+ book camp library into a dumpster.

This morning, a judge issued a restraining order saying that the police were not allowed to bar protesters or their belongings from the park. When protesters, holding copies of the restraining order, tried to return to the park, police wouldn't let them in.

On Tuesday morning a judge issued a temporary restraining order preventing the owners of Zuccotti Park from enforcing rules about occupying its public space, or from preventing protesters from re-entering the park with tents.

Mayor Bloomberg said this morning, in response to the restraining order, that the park would not be re-opened until the city had an opportunity to address the restraining order.

In other words - we won't respect your restraining order until we've had a chance to appeal it. Never mind that it's legally binding, and refusing to honor it is technically criminal contempt of court.

Meh. None of that is surprising. There's another story.

I'm gonna cut and paste a couple of paragraphs from this Guardian story on the eviction.

As police swooped on the park in the early hours of Tuesday, the city closed airspace in lower Manhattan to prevent news helicopters taking aerial shots of the scene. Vans were used to obscure views of the park and a police cordon effectively blocked accredited media from reaching the site. Some of those members of the press who were in the park or were able to get there say they were arrested, pepper sprayed or treated aggressively.

One of the few reporters on the scene when the police moved in was Josh Harkinson, a writer for Mother Jones magazine. As police used tear gas to remove the last protesters from the park Harkinson identified himself as a member of the media and was physically dragged out of the park. He was told that reporters had to stay in a "press pen".

Reporters tweeted their frustration using the hashtag #mediablackout and said police were ignoring and even confiscating press passes.

A New York Post reporter was "roughed up" according to the New York Times' Brian Stelter. Lindsey Christ, of local cable-news channel NY1, said on-air this morning that "the police took over, they kept everybody out and they wouldn't let media in. It was very planned."

At a press conference after the raid, mayor Mike Bloomberg defended the decision to raid Zuccotti Park as "mine and mine alone." He said the decision to clamp down on media coverage was made to "protect the members of the press. We have to provide protection and we have done exactly that." He said the move was made "to prevent a situation from getting worse".

...right. To prevent the situation getting worse for whom, exactly?

He said the decision to clamp down on media coverage was made to "protect the members of the press. We have to provide protection and we have done exactly that."

You don't protect people by pepper spraying them.

Some of those members of the press who were in the park or were able to get there say they were arrested, pepper sprayed or treated aggressively.

Let me say that again, for those of you who might have missed it the first time: You Don't Protect People By Pepper Spraying Them. You protect yourself by pepper spraying them. In this case, you protect yourself by pepper spraying them and physically dragging them out of the park and into a "press pen" so that they can't report on what you're doing.

Good job, NYPD. I'd say I expected better of you, but, you know, I actually follow the news.

No comments: