With the temperatures in New York plummeting toward freezing and snowfall predicted, city authorities removed six power generators and several dozen canisters of fuel from Occupy Wall Street protesters camped out in Zuccotti Park.
On Friday, more than 20 police and fire department officials entered the encampment and demanded that the protesters turn over anything that could be considered a fire hazard, citing safety concerns. That included even vegetable oil for cooking.
As RT’s Lucy Kafanov reports, many activists feel that it is a convenient way for city officials to crackdown on the movement and freeze them out as temperatures continue to drop.
Zuccotti Park in downtown Manhattan was the scene of the original Occupy Wall Street demonstration against economic inequality and corporate greed that started on September 17. Since then it has inspired similar protests across the world, from Tokyo to Toronto. The protesters often claim that they are the 99 per cent who are fed up with the greed of the 1 per cent.
“OWS points finger where it belongs”
Earlier this week, during a rally in Oakland, California, an Iraq war veteran was badly injured when police cracked down on thousands of activists.
“The police sometimes fail to recognize that when they attack non-violent protesters, it really exposes the corruption of the system and the fact that the police ultimately are fielded to protect the 1 per cent and not to protect the free-speech rights of the rest of us,” said David Korten, author of the book “When Corporations Rule the World.”
He cautioned, however, against losing focus on then big picture. The movement, Korten said, is “pointing the finger where it belongs,” opening a conversation about the real source of pain felt by many across the US and the world.
“My excitement about the protest is the fact that they are finally drawing attention to the fact that we have an economy that is predominantly working for the 1 per cent of people who control the financial system,” he argued.
According to Korten, the OWS movement has quite clear demands.
“They want their economy back, their government back, they want their future back and they actually want a country that operates by principles of true democracy and real markets which work for everyone,” he said.
Journalist and writer Edward Murray says the incident in Oakland shows that the authorities are not in control of the police.
“The fact that police acted in the way that they did shows that there is a big discontent between the mayor’s statement and what they are doing there on the ground,” Murray said.