Determined to defy the protesters at Occupy movement encampments across the country, mayors and law enforcement agencies from coast-to-coast are attempting to crack down on the growing movement.
Fear of a backlash from the thousands of bodies making up the movement, however, is causing officials to consider out-of-the –ordinary methods of evicting occupies from the parks and plazas across America.
New Yorkers might want to lace up their boots as forecasters predict the first snowfall of the season in the Big Apple this year to occur over this weekend. Occupy Wall Street protesters in Zuccotti Park can perhaps best prepare themselves for the wintery weather, though, by readying for all out war.
With snow scheduled to land in the hub of the now-international Occupy movement on Saturday, demonstrators in New York City are rearing to take on Mother Nature and are ready to go. As climate conditions begin to worsen, however, Mayor Michael Bloomberg is upping the ante himself by ordering the removal of all electrical generators from the Lower Manhattan park that has been the home of the protesters for six weeks now.
With nothing but body warmth, blankets and sheer ingenuity to protect the protesters from hypothermia (and maybe most important to them — giving in), the determination of demonstrators is about to be tested to the fullest as Jack Frost feels like dropping by to say hi.
The big move that Mayor Bloomberg just revealed might be only of interest to those camping out in Zuccotti, but it’s just one in a series of recent initiatives from big-wigs across the US who are sidestepping permits and peace-abiding protesters by finding fresh new ways to put a damper on their demonstrations.
In Nashville, Tennessee early Friday, police made around 30 arrests near the state Capitol as they cracked down on Music City’s localized Occupy Wall Street offshoot. The eviction, one of many to occur this week alone, was to be expected. Even if, that is, it was illegal.
Cops began to evict protesters from Nashville around 3 a.m. this morning, citing a newly enacted state law that would prevent occupiers from camping overnight. Hours later, however, a night county judge refused to sign the warrants for their eviction as the charges — which were never authorized — became null.
When demonstrators returned to their camp in downtown Nashville later in the morning though, their tents were long gone and police stood guard over the site.
Katy Savage, a protester previously occupying the park, tells The New York Times that the arrests of the dozens that have since been freed were “disgusted and disappointed.”
Elsewhere across the country, the adding up of arrest — authorized or not — isn’t the biggest cause for concern. It’s the logistics of how participants will make it through the winter.
In Denver, Colorado, protesters are prohibited from erecting tents now. Even a mile above sea level and experiencing wet snow already, demonstrators continue to occupy a city park. In Boston, the site of mass, brutal arrest earlier this month, around $35,000 has been raised already towards winterizing the encampment where space-heaters are shunned by authorities. Snow is also expected to fall in Buffalo, New York this weekend for the first time this season, where late October is often the venue for blizzard-like conditions. Still, Niagara Square outside of Buffalo’s City Hall building remains the site of a local encampment and on Wednesday protesters rallied through the park with the battle-cry of “Through rain, through snow, Occupy Buffalo!”
Optimism aside, from Buffalo to Boulder, Chicago to Denver, New York to DC and all wintery points in-between, protesters are gearing up for a weekend which is sure to test the endurance of thousands of participants in local Occupy Wall Street offshoots across the country.
Arrests have been big and burdensome ever since the first week. Now, however, will be the real test. As officials like Bloomberg and other mayors and politicians find ways to circumvent permits and try to take down the movement with the help of the weather, many demonstrators say they don’t plan to go anywhere.
As Dwayne Hudson from Occupy Denver tells the Associated Press, “I’m sure the mountains of Afghanistan get pretty cold.”
“This,” says Hudson, “is like war.”