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The First Amendment Triumphs As The Occupation of Wall Street Will Continue
Despite Mayor Bloomberg’s best efforts to black out the media and violate the First Amendment rights of OWS, a judge has ordered that the protesters be allowed to return to Liberty Plaza.
Mayor Bloomberg launched an overnight raid to clear Liberty Plaza that included police in riot gear, vehicles, and even a bulldozer in an attempt to not only clear the park, but literally wipe Occupy Wall Street off the map.
Bloomberg’s claims this time around centered around the park not being open to others and safety concerns, “The law that created Zuccotti Park required that it be open for the public to enjoy for passive recreation 24 hours a day. Ever since the occupation began, that law has not been complied with. Making it unavailable to anyone else… The park had become covered in tents and tarps, making it next to impossible to safely navigate for the public, and for first responders who are responsible for guaranteeing public safety.”
Learning the lesson from his last failed attempt, Bloomberg made sure that the media was blacked out from covering the raid. New York Observer Politics Reporter Hunter Walker tweeted, “I was blocked from viewing nypd raid at #occupywallstreet along with reporters from cnbc, nbc, cbs, wsj and reuters #mediablackout”
NY1 Education Reporter Lindsey Christ tweeted, “Reporters/photogs being thrown to ground and pushed to wall if they get in front of the wrong officer. Other officers calm and polite.”
Just hours after the raid lawyers from the New York City Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild obtained a temporary restraining order against the city, various city agencies, and Brookfield Properties that directed the occupiers be allowed back into the park with their belongings.
In their press release, Attorney Yetta Kurland, one of the attorneys from the LPLWG, said, “This is a victory for everyone who believes in the First Amendment. We will continue to fight for everyone’s right to continue the occupation.” In response to the injunction, Daniel Alterman, also an attorney with the LPLWG, stated that, “This is a victory for all Americans, for the constitution and for the 99%.” Gideon Oliver, another attorney with the LPLWG reacted by saying, “The LPLWG has been fighting to ensure their right to free speech from day one of the occupation. The occupiers right to free speech is based in our most core legal principles and we will be here till the end to fight for those rights.”
Police raids have become the en vogue technique for trying to squash the occupy movement over the past few weeks, but Bloomberg’s latest action took the one percent’s desperation to a new low. The raid was conducted in the middle of the night, with media blacked out in a feeble attempt to keep the news of his actions from reaching the rest of the world.
If Mayor Bloomberg really believed that what was doing was right, he would not have attempted the raid under the cover of literal and media darkness. Bloomberg knew he was wrong. He knew he was violating the First Amendment, and he didn’t care. Bloomberg put his loyalty to his fellow one percent ahead of the Constitution of the United States of America, and at the end of the day our system told him that he and his one percent pals our not bigger than the First Amendment.
What began as an ugly raid has turned into a great day for freedom. The Occupation of Wall Street will continue, and the First Amendment remains alive and well.
Update: A federal judge has ruled in favor of the city, ” The movants have not demonstrated that they have a First Amendment right to remain in Zuccotti Park, along with their tents, structures, generators, and other installations to the exclusion of the owner’s reasonable rights and duties to maintain Zuccotti Park, or to the rights to public access of others who might wish to use the space safely. Neither have the applicants shown a right to a temporary restraining order that would restrict the City’s enforcement of law so as to promote public health and safety. Therefore, petitioners application for a temporary restraining order is denied.”
However, OWS has issued an urgent message asking everyone to come to Liberty Square for a reoccupation.