Evicted: The Occupy Wall Street Story

Will America’s unhappy campers go home quietly, and stay that way?

A protester affiliated with the Occupy Wall Street movement smokes a cigarette while sitting on a police vehicle outside Zuccotti Park during an unannounced raid by the New York City Police Department in New York. (Photo: Andrew Burton/Reuters)

Allan MacDonell is TakePart’s News + Opinion editor, with a focus on social justice.

Since September 17, 2011, when it pitched its first tent in New York City’s Zuccotti Park, the Occupy Wall Street movement has (“arguably” some might carp) ignited a conversation about America’s disparities in income, healthcare, social safety nets, and base-level personal hygiene standards.

City officials around the country are pushing Occupy campers to move on, citing unhealthy conditions at encampment sites and three deaths in different cities, including two by gunfire.

The 99 percent movement needed less than two months to spread to more than a dozen cities across the United States and many more globally, in a groundswell of activist cooperation much like one aptly celebrated by President Barack Obama: “Square by square, town by town, country by country, the people have risen up to demand their basic human rights. The United States supports a set of universal rights. And these rights include free speech, the freedom of peaceful assembly…”

Unfortunately for the rising people of Lower Manhattan, Portland, Oregon, and Oakland, California, America’s support of peacefully assembled citizens demanding basic human rights doesn’t appear to extend to North America.

During the early morning hours of November 15, New York City police staged an unannounced maneuver on the Zuccotti Park encampment to remove protesters. Early on Monday, November 14, Occupy protesters were cleared from Oakland’s Frank Ogawa Plaza. Also on November 14, Portland police swept through two city parks and arrested handfuls of Occupy campers who had defied an order to leave. City officials around the country are pushing Occupy campers to move on, citing unhealthy conditions at encampment sites and three deaths in different cities, including two by gunfire.

Portland Mayor Sam Adams attempted to project solidarity with the Occupy movement, while ordering police action to disperse it. The movement “is bigger than camps,” consoled Adams on Twitter. “It was a fantastic way to start a global movement, but it is not working anymore. It needs to evolve. Fast.”

Currently, some campers appear to have made an evolutionary leap to mobile protests.

“We are appalled but not deterred,” reads a statement condemning the evictions from supporters of Occupy Wall Street. “Today we are stronger than we were yesterday. Tomorrow we will be stronger still.”

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