Protesters Try to Stay Awake as Police Look On - NBC New York

Videos, photos and full coverage of the movement that began Sept. 17, 2011

Protesters Try to Stay Awake as Police Look On

Area churches opened their doors to accommodate protesters for the night



    Zuccotti Park gets stronger police presence after protesters move back in, this time without tents, sleeping bags or big backpacks. Andrew Siff reports. (Published Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2011)

    About a dozen Occupy Wall Street protesters spent their first night in Zuccotti Park without tents or sleeping bags, talking, trying to stay awake and fending off bad behavior as the morning aproached.

    Instead of huddling under tarps in makeshift beds, they sat on the park's marble benches, occasionally chanting "We are the 99 percent'' and other protest slogans as about 30 police officers looked on.

    At daybreak Wednesday, protesters called for police when a man started throwing punches.      

    Officers moved in and arrested a man who had tried to intervene. A short time later, protesters banished a man from the park who was arrested last week for indecent exposure.

    NYPD Evacuates Zuccotti Park [Raw]

    [NY] NYPD Evacuates Zuccotti Park [Raw]
    NYPD officers swept Zuccotti Park after midnight Tuesday in a surprise evacuation of the Occupy Wall Street protesters who have been camped out there for two months. More here.
    (Published Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012)

    It wasn't immediately clear if he was re-arrested.

    A judge ruled Tuesday that the protesters could return to Zuccotti but could not set up camp with equipment that the city said created numerous hazards. Police raided the site early Tuesday morning and confiscated much of their camping gear.   

    Dona Garcia stayed awake at Zuccotti by smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee. By 6 a.m. Wednesday, she had drunk five cups and said she'd be the happiest woman in the world if she could get another one.     

    The Brooklyn native says she needs more coffee because she feels herself slipping into slumber. Her body has been able to fight it during the past six hours. But every time she tries to lie down, she says the police are physically pulling her up.     

    Some of the overnight protesters held up signs. One read "Police, who do you protect really?''

    A handful of protesters were also at a nearby McDonald's resting their heads on tables while some slept at a nearby church that the pastor opened for one night to accommodate the suddenly campless protesters.

    Meanwhile, the protesters plan to launch a massive demonstration Thursday -- the two-month mark of their movement -- on Wall Street and in the subway system.

    Protesters were allowed back into Zuccotti Park Tuesday evening but were banned from bringing tents, tarps, generators and camping equipment after a judge sided with the city following a surprise overnight raid of the Occupy Wall Street headquarters.

    "Individuals who attempt to enter the park carrying these items may be refused entry," an NYPD chief bellowed through a bullhorn as several hundred demonstrators filed back into the plaza after a tumultuous day.

    Police searched bags and controlled entrance points to the park, as some inside vowed they would be staying the night, "tent or no tent."

    "Shame on you!" they shouted at police.

    Judge Michael D. Stallman had ruled earlier in the evening that protesters "have not demonstrated that they have a First Amendment right to remain in Zuccotti Park, along with their tents, structures, generators and other installations" that block public access to the park or limit the property owners' abilities to maintain it.

    His ruling came hours after a different judge had granted a temporary restraining order halting the city from enforcing those equipment rules. The city, she wrote, could not enforce park rules that were published "after the occupation began."

    But Stallman said while the court is mindful of protesters' First Amendment rights, "even protected speech is not equally permissible in all places and at all times."

    Read the judge's ruling here.

    One protester told NBC New York Monday night: "Ultimately, I don't care what the court ruling is. If I have to get arrested, I have to get arrested. They're not gonna shut down this movement."

    Read more about the overnight raid at Zuccotti Park and the subsequent court battle here