Nightly News | November 15, 2011
BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: Another story in the news. All day today here in New York , the NYPD moved into Lower Manhattan before dawn and they emptied the park of those Occupy Wall Street protesters who have been living there for two months, where it all started. Here's what Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan looked like just yesterday, before the police raid, and afterward. Everything, everyone out and a power washing by sanitation workers. Late today, a judge ruled they can go back, but not with their tents, sleeping bags and other camping gear. It's a developing story here in New York tonight. NBC 's Mara Schiavocampo covering for us. Mara , good evening.
MARA SCHIAVOCAMPO reporting: Brian , good evening. Protesters began re-entering this park about an hour ago, streaming in joyously. This after a tumultuous day when they were evicted from the park, their camp dismantled completely. Shortly after midnight, hundreds of officers in riot gear stormed the protesters' camp. Those who refused to leave were forced out.
Unidentified Man #1: Cops came in there six at a time, pulling people, pulling kids up by their arms, by their shoulders, by their hair.
Unidentified Woman: I think it's an outrage what they're doing.
SCHIAVOCAMPO: Up to 100 were arrested. Every single tent and sleeping bag hauled away. Then, before dawn , the park was scrubbed clean.
Unidentified Man #2: Well, it was unsanitary. It broke all the rules that the park was about.
SCHIAVOCAMPO: City officials said while they support the right to protest, it's time for the occupation to end.
Mayor MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (New York City): The First Amendment protects speech. It does not protect the use of tents and sleeping bags to take over a public space.
SCHIAVOCAMPO: New York joins a growing list of cities cracking down this week, from Oakland ...
Unidentified Man #3: All right. We got everybody out.
SCHIAVOCAMPO: ...to Portland...
Group of Protesters:
SCHIAVOCAMPO: ...to Berkeley just this afternoon. The protest began in New York two months ago. The anger at corporate greed and wealth inequality gaining traction and national attention.
Unidentified Man #4: I'm just letting my friends, you know.
Unidentified Man #5: ...doesn't want you anymore. All right?
SCHIAVOCAMPO: But now, many communities are fed up with the cost and inconvenience of around the clock protest camps.
Mr. LARRY SABATO (University of Virginia Center for Politics): People were sympathetic to at least some of the goals as expressed by the early occupiers, but lately it seems, because of crime and sanitation and ideological disputes, this seems to be degenerating in a way that reminds people of the worst of the 1960s .
Group of Protesters: The whole world is watching.
SCHIAVOCAMPO: In New York , protesters spent the day trying to get back into Zuccotti Park , fighting not just for access to one park but the future of their movement. Though protesters have been allowed back into the park, this is far from a victory for them. They can no longer camp here, which completely changes the
nature of their occupation. Brian: Mara Schiavocampo , after a long day, in Lower Manhattan . Mara , thanks.