After police raided Zuccotti Park, the center of the Occupy Wall Street movement, Occupy D.C. protesters in McPherson Square are trading rumors about what happened overnight in New York City.
One person standing in a small group of curious protesters asked how many protesters were arrested in New York.
“I heard it was three [police officers] to one,” another answered.
McPherson Square occupiers watched the raid unfold on smartphones and laptops, following hashtags on Twitter and video live streams on the Web as police eventually arrested about 70 protesters over the course of the night.
In the end, officers helped dump tents and tarps and living supplies into waiting garbage trucks and then ringed the park as city employees power-washed the Zuccotti Park space clean.
In McPherson Square, protesters have noticed that police are visiting more frequently and for longer periods than when the encampment first sprang up in the park early last month; Monday, U.S. Park Police confirmed they were searching the park’s tents for a man allegedly involved in a shooting near the White House on Friday evening. Hours after news of evictions in Zuccotti Park broke, police officers walked through McPherson Square two-by-two.
Protesters are wary. Carl McClinton said conflict with police is almost inevitable.
“Unless we continue to gain numbers and get more organized,” McClinton said, “what’s going to happen when they come?”
(“Stand and fight,” a passerby said. “That’s what we’ll do.”)
Others have faith that conflict will strengthen the movement. Nathan Gorecki arrived in Washington on Oct. 5 after spending two weeks in New York. Friends in Manhattan keep him posted, and he’s following the latest conflict between the city and the Occupy protesters closely.
New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (I) “is doing nothing but helping them,” Gorecki said of the protesters. “Every time someone gets beat up, 10,000 more will come.”
Marchers who began making their way from New York to Washington on Wednesday are also reacting to news of the Zuccotti Park eviction; some are turning back to join the movement while others plan their next steps to McPherson Square. The Washington Post’s Elizabeth Flock has been with them most of the way; check out her live updates here.
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