Occupy Wall Street and New York press to spotlight ‘Bloomberg Army’ human rights abuses
Human rights defenders with the New York press and Occupy Wall Street are making final preparations Friday morning to protest billionaire mayor Michael Bloomberg’s “New York Police Department army” attacks on journalists and their First Amendment rights. With photographers, videographers and live-streamers to document the event, protesters aim to bring New York Police Department (NYPD) human rights abuses to public attention Friday afternoon starting at 3:00 p.m.
New Yorkers and Occupy Wall Street (OWS) members are making final preparations to protest the ongoing NYPD interference with members of the press, including citizen journalists, scheduled from 3:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. Friday, Jan. 6 at Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s mansion.
“In recent months, NYPD has refused to recognize press credentials, summarily seized press credentials, harassed, physically blocked, assaulted, and arrested—without cause—members of the press,” Occupy Wall Street stated in a written statement Friday.
It is no longer the citizen reporter including live-streamers being arrested.
The New York Times reports, “In the last few weeks, the police have gone after reporters working for large newspapers.”
OWS, reinforced by the New York Press Club, are making final preparations Friday morning to take this human rights abuse issue to the doorstep of New York City’s billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg — at his mansion — with live-streaming to show the world what transpires.
By 3:00 p.m., the rights defenders are to be assembled at 5th Ave. and 79th St., intending to march to the Bloomberg Mansion.
Bloomberg Army protecting the 1%
At MIT on Nov. 30, Bloomberg called the NYPD his “own army.”
“I have my own army in the NYPD, which is the seventh largest army in the world,” the mayor told the gathering at MIT regarding the police force that has been accused of violent human rights abuses, including corralling the protesters so that they are boxed in and then pepper spraying them for peacefully lining Wall Street.
(Watch Livestream video, embedded on this page left, of ‘Bloomberg NYPD army’ abusive treatment of peaceful OWS human rights defenders and reporters Sunday morning, Jan. 1.)
“The mayor is a member of the wealthiest 1% of the country,” Occupy Wall Street (OWS) stated.
On November 15, Bloomberg ordered “his NYPD army” to conduct a surprise raid and forcibly remove Occupy Wall Street from Liberty Square.
“The working press was prevented from covering that police raid – either ejected from the site or prevented from being close enough to do comprehensive reporting,” stated OWS.
Mayor Bloomberg’s office went into “full spin mode,” first defending the actions of the NYPD and then, minimizing the magnitude of demonstrations according to The New York Observer.
This week, Bloomberg’s “army” forcibly evicted a group streaming live video of OWS from a space in Brooklyn and arrested them.
New York Press Club’s Coalition for the First Amendment backs OWS
Ongoing severe NYPD attacks on reporters prompted journalist organizations in late November to form the Coalition for the First Amendment under auspices of the New York Press Club (nypressclub.org/coalition).
The Coalition says on the New York Press Club website that its formation was in response to “the alarming suppression, abuse and arrests of reporters covering NYPD’s eviction of ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protesters from Zuccotti Park on November 15th.
Details of the police actions to suppress and deter coverage are contained in numerous accounts on the New York Press Club website, along with communications between press organizations and Bloomberg administration officials condemning the police actions and demanding they cease.
In its call to other press groups to form the Coalition, the New York Press Club declared it intended to monitor police-press relations to spotlight police activities threatening constitutional protections.
“To date, the Mayor and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly have failed to stop these attacks or ensure a thorough and untainted investigation,” OWS stated, as documented in detail on the New York Press Club website.
“The working press is essential for holding government and other institutions accountable. No democracy is safe without a free press.
“NYPD’s shameful behavior against journalists by some rank and file officers and commanders has been going on for years. Letters of protest by journalist organizations have been ignored by police,” OWS stated..
“Attacks on members of the media continue to flourish under the mayor and his police commissioner despite their promises to the contrary.”
Josh Stearns, Associate Program Director at Free Press, has been tracking reports of journalist arrests at Occupy protests throughout the country since September, 2011. His compendium is updated regularly on Storify.
Journalists who feel they have been subjected to suppressive or unreasonably exclusionary tactics by NYPD or any other government agency are urged to contact the Press Club.