As noted earlier by the Washington Post and various other outlets, there have been a series of crackdowns on local occupations around the country, including the big (
and seemingly failed) one in NYC, and these apparently followed a conference call between 18 mayors from across the country:
11:18 a.m. Coordinated country-wide crackdown?
The Zuccotti Park closure is only the latest in a series of crackdowns around the country of Occupy encampments. Occupy Chapel Hill, Occupy Burlington, Occupy Denver, Occupy Oakland and Occupy Berekly have all struggled
On the BBC’s Take Away show, [New Orleans] Mayor Jean Quan says she was on a conference call shortly before the actions began with “18 cities across the country who had the same situation.”
It’s not surprising that city officials would reach out to one another to brainstorm on ideas about city management, but it’s interesting to think just how that 18-city call went.
We asked the Gray Administration for a comment on the local occupiers and if there was any mounting pressure to forcefully remove them:
“The demonstration has been peaceful here,” Susan Straub, the administration’s spokeswoman told us. “We’ve asked the participants not to sleep on the sidewalk or block the sidewalk or entrances to businesses. We’ve asked them to keep the area clean. They have generally complied.”
This coupled with all accounts I have heard that the local police have been nothing but fantastic suggests that no similar crackdown is coming to Lexington.
Assuming that is true, the way the city and police have handled this movement could be a model for the nation (like, oh, Chapel Hill, where they went in with assault rifles). The forcible removing of peaceful protestors obviously accomplishing nothing except to galvanize the very forces these authorities are trying to silence. It’s not just silly and misguided, it’s dangerous (as Oakland made obvious, where Mayor Quan’s staff is now openly siding with the protestors).
Furthermore, arresting journalists is a surefire way to piss off news agencies at large and gaurantee yourself some seriously negative press, as Mayor Bloomberg will surely discover after having at least four journalists detained, and after forcing media away from Liberty Square to keep them from filming and photographing the immediate aftermath of the 1AM raid.
So kudos to Lexington’s leaders, our police, and our protestors for all getting along well and showing the rest of the country how civilized people behave.
Original version of this posted at time when ruling was being reported as a rejection of Bloomberg. Current reports suggesting that Judge’s ruling will not allow protestors back into park. Which means this situation is in flux and if they truly aren’t allowed back, that’s an even bigger mistake than raiding them in the first place. So… watch live here through the evening.