The Occupy Wall Street protesters appear delighted to see their numbers swell everyday in New York’s Zucotti Park, as organizers and others will tout to the media and critics that their movement is only getting stronger, but serious internal problems seem to be afoot within the OWS movement in the park. Security concerns are haunting OWS organizers. Alleged unwanted gropings of a female OWS participants in the park is a story that is making the rounds as well as claims of theft in the park.
According to the New York local news website DNAinfo:
On one hand, protesters and cops have clashed during well-publicized incidents ranging from demonstrators being pepper sprayed to mass arrests on the Brooklyn Bridge.On the other, organizers have reached out to the NYPD to help keep control of the hordes of protesters.”It’s a very delicate balance,” said Brendan Burke, 41, a member of Occupy Wall Street’s security team. “It’s a line [between protesters and police], but you’ve got to keep the line perforated to ease the tension.”Burke, a punk rock musician and truck driver from Brooklyn, said he has worked with police to help EMTs with stretchers access Zuccotti Park when protesters have been seriously ill, and he would not hesitate to contact the police in the case of a sexual assault.
That’s what happened on Monday, when the protesters got fed up with 27-year-old Dave Park, who frequently showed up drunk to Zuccotti Park and allegedly groped several women, protesters said.After repeated incidents and failed intervention attempts by Occupy Wall Street’s security team, the protesters finally went to the NYPD for help in removing Park, according to Paul Isaac, a member of the security team.To avoid a potential conflict between protesters and police in the park, the OWS security team brought Park to the fringes of the plaza, where they handed him over to authorities.
The OWS security team also must deal with threats of violence that can range from two OWS protesters having an argument that gets out of hand to an individual who is not part of the OWS demonstrations—wanders into the park and may cause harm.
Apparently, OWS organizers want to make sure that those who are serious about their movement are protected from physical harm, but only a handful of individuals are willing put in the many hours to do the job of handling security for the thousands who show up at the park everyday.
OWS will have to find some way to tackle these difficult issues. The protesters in New York were told by the owners of Zucotti Park, Brookfield Properties, that OWS did not have to vacate their staging grounds downtown on Friday for the sanitation department to clean it. Protesters suspected they were about to be evicted from the park after the cleaning was done.
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani told Sean Hannity on Friday that if he were still running the city he would have removed the protesters the moment one of them started sleeping in the streets.
“Sleeping on the streets is a dysfunctional act. It harms the person, it harms society, it leads to unsanitary conditions that affect public health,” Mr. Giuliani said. “The first one who decided to sleep there should have been removed and then the second one, and the third one, and the fourth one and the fifth one.”
OWS protesters are expected in Times Square in the early evening to continue their protests.
OWS demonstrators are expected in Times Square in the early evening to continue their protests.