The NYPD have raided the Occupy Wall Street camp in Zuccotti Park, tossing tents, tarps, pallets, sleeping bags and 5,554 books into dump trucks.
The Occupy Wall Street librarians tweeted the eviction all night: “NYPD destroying american cultural history, they’re destroying the documents, the books, the artwork of an event in our nation’s history … Right now, the NYPD are throwing over 5,000 books from our library into a dumpster. Will they burn them? … Call 311 or 212-639-9675 now and ask why Mayor Bloomberg is throwing the 5,554 books from our library into a dumpster.”
Even though the New York City camp has been cleared, these People’s Libraries are popping up around the country. We are building a list of Digital People’s Libraries, if you want to contribute. (Photo via nic221 on Flickr).
The police said that 150 people were arrested last night. Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave a news conference this morning about the eviction. “New York City is the city where you can come and express yourself … What was happening in Zuccotti Park was not that.”
From the New York Times:
The mayor, at his news conference, read a statement he had issued around 6 a.m. explaining the reasoning behind the sweep. “The law that created Zuccotti Park required that it be open for the public to enjoy for passive recreation 24 hours a day,” the mayor said in the statement. “Every since the occupation began, that law has not been complied with” because the protesters had taken over the park, “making it unavailable to anyone else.”
“I have become increasingly concerned — as had the park’s owner, Brookfield Properties — that the occupation was coming to pose a health and fire safety hazard to the protesters and to the surrounding community,” Mr. Bloomberg said. He added that on Monday, Brookfield asked the city to assist in enforcing “the no sleeping and camping rules.
“But make no mistake,” the mayor said, “the final decision to act was mine and mine alone.”
And most importantly, from the OWSLibrary workers themselves:
Trust me, just go to the site.
Such a delicate situation.
I really don’t think that our society is ready to handle such an outpouring of opinion, dedication, and physical statement as we’ve seen in the OWS group over the past few months. The police force is so far used to people giving up easily in fear of incarceration and the future personal implications it represents. Did the city just get too scared? Was there really a health risk? Either way, that’s no excuse for trashing several hundred volumes of knowledge, thought, and insight. True, these books are still available elsewhere, and they weren’t getting rid of ancient scrolls, but the physical act of deeming their codices ‘worthless’ is a crime I cannot stomach. I wait anxiously for the OWS Library’s next move.