Media Kept at Distance as NY Police Clear Occupy Wall Street Encampment

 Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images

NEW YORK - In a surprise overnight move, police here on early Tuesday cleared out Zuccotti Park in downtown Manhattan where Occupy Wall Street protesters had been camped out for about two months.

The raid happened as journalists trying to cover the event were kept at a distance and at times were treated violently, according to the Huffington Post.

Most reporters were barred from getting too close to the action, it said. Using the Twitter hashtag "#mediablackout," some journalists tweeted that that police had blocked them from seeing what was happening or had acted violently, according to the Huffington Post.

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Some reporters were among those arrested by police, it said. NPR freelancer Julie Walker tweeted: "was arrested covering #ows as npr freelancer. thnx to all for the concern. am out of jail."

New York Times writer Brian Stelter tweeted: "I’m w/ a NY Post reporter who says he was roughed up by riot police as Zuccotti was cleared."

Mayor Mike Bloomberg said in a news conference early Tuesday that around 200 people who didn't clear the park as ordered by police had been arrested as part of the raid. He also acknowledged that media had been kept at a distance. He cited concerns about health and fire safety hazards to the protestors and to the surrounding community as reasons for the eviction.

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According to the New York Times, a member of the New York City Council said via Twitter that his colleague Ydanis Rodriguez had been injured and arrested during the police operation to clear Zuccotti Park.

On Monday in Oakland, Calif., police had raided the main Occupy Wall Street encampment there, arresting 33 people. Protesters returned later in the day, but police said they wouldn't be allowed to sleep there anymore.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai

 

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