Astra Taylor in n+1:
Last night, in what seems to be part of a coordinated crackdown on occupations across the country, Zuccotti Park was raided. Thousands of us who had subscribed to the text alert system, or who got emails or phone calls or panicked Twitter messages, went to Wall Street. But we could not get near the camp. Two blocks south of Liberty Plaza on Broadway, blocked by a police barricade that circled the whole area, I found myself part of a small crowd straining to see what was happening. In the distance, Zuccotti Park was lit like a sports field, glaring eerily, and I could make out a loud speaker, blasting announcements and threats. Sounds of people chanting and screaming floated towards us. While we paced the street, seething and sorrowful, tents were trampled, people’s possessions piled up, and occupiers arrested. Later I would come across a camper I had met earlier in the day sobbing on the sidewalk. A few blocks west, maybe thirty minutes after I arrived, the police line broke so two huge dump trucks could pass through. So that was it: we, and everything we had made and were trying to make, were trash.
The authorities must be ashamed, because they so badly did not want anyone to see what happened last night. First they attacked the senses, flooding the park with bright light and using sound cannons. Then they corralled the press into pens, arrested reporters, and shut down airspace over lower Manhattan, so that no news stations could broadcast from above. As we strained our necks over their barricades they kept telling us that there was nothing to see. But clearly there was! We knew they were lying. And when we told them so, they, with batons in hand, forced us away. We were herded like sheep, and I felt like one, meekly following orders, a terrible coward. Those who resisted—those who stood their ground on a public sidewalk we all have a right to stand on—got maced in the face, right in the eyes. The authorities so badly did not want anyone to see what happened last night they were willing to temporarily blind us.