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Protesters Try to Retrieve Items Confiscated from Zuccotti Park

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Anti-Wall Street protesters tried to reclaim their confiscated items from the Department of Sanitation on Wednesday, a day after 26 truckloads of sleeping bags, tents, books and other belongings were taken by police during an overnight sweep of Zuccotti Park.

The first person to arrive at the Department of Sanitation garage on 56th Street and the West Side Highway on Wednesday was Betsy Fagin, who helped run the makeshift library at Zuccotti Park that she claimed included more than 5,000 books.

"I'm here to collect the books and also the personal belongings of all the librarians," she said. "We'd like our tents, and our bags, our computers, and notebooks. As much as we can get back, we want back."

Fagin later told WNYC that many books remain unaccounted for, and most of the books that were in the garage were damaged from being hauled away in garbage trucks. She said she plans to go back over the next two days to look for more.

About 58 people came to retrieve their belongings on Wednesday and 29 left with items, according to the Department of Sanitation.

The NYPD entered Zuccotti Park early Tuesday morning and told protesters they would have to vacate the park — and that they could not re-enter with them sleeping bags, tarps or tents when they returned. There were 151 sanitation workers involved in the sweep, the department said.

The raid was the third in as many days for a major American city after police broke up camps Sunday in Portland, Ore, and Monday in Oakland, Calif.

Elijah Moses and Tommy Fox, who belong to a drumming group called Pulse, stood in line and filled out an itemized list of the instruments they had kept at Zuccotti Park. When they came out of the sanitation garage, they were agitated.

(Photo: Drumming group "Pulse" founder Elijah Moses (right) and group manager Tommy Fox try to itemize confiscated drums. Brian Zumhagen/WNYC.)

"We only got like two drums out of 15," Tommy Fox said.

Elijah Moses added, "There's at least about $500, $600 worth of equipment that's still inside."

The drummers said they planned to come back Thursday and on Friday, if necessary. Sanitation officials said some people may have to visit the garage more than once because crews are still sifting though all the items.

The facility is open from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. through Friday to protesters who have ID and can produce some kind of proof of ownership.

If an item cannot be found or is damaged, demonstrators will have to file a claim with the city comptroller's office. Officials said they plan to wait until the end of Friday to decide what to do with any items that remain unclaimed.

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Comments [5]

Scott from FL

The clean up crew at Zuccotti Park said the park had a smell of the most foul odors imaginable. They found buckets of human waste, hypodermic needles, loads of garbage among other things. What the hell is wrong with our country to put up with this insanity? Go get a job you morons. You are seriously delusional as to what the world is and how it is. I always tend to think about 1945 as the men and women came home from WWII...Can you imagine this protest behavior being demonstrated then? How the "Greatest Generation" must be rolling in their graves. It's not a protest about Wall Street, it's anarchy. You don't understand life, you're lazy, insane and incompetent fools...Wake up already and do something with your lives. How sad...

Nov. 21 2011 07:05 PM
Bella from NYC

Hey WNYC--could you post the audio from this story? It was brief but enlightening, and ran just after 10 am (on Nov. 16th.)
Thanks!!

Nov. 16 2011 04:50 PM
Amos Elroy from Jersey City, NJ

I was extremely disappointed in mayor Bloomberg's under handed move. It certainly appears to be an attempt to kill the 99% movement, and in a very sneaky way. I did get a chance to walk through the park a few days ago and it was far from the proclaimed anarchy and chaos the mayor portrayed it as. Clearly the mayor did not offer any alternatives for the movement to survive the winter, such as rotating locations on a weekly basis, because the purpose was to squelch it, not really solve a public safety problem.

This is the time I made a decision to join the protest, as I can not bare the thought of letting such dirty tactics be rewarded. This is, after all, a perfectly legal movement, and it raises legitimate concerns, whether you fully agree with them or not. This is a dangerous act of war on public expression and freedom, and if you value those you can no longer stand by and let the authorities be allowed to destroy it through petty regulations backed up by brute force.

Nov. 16 2011 03:23 PM
ken from brooklyn

How can we support Tahir Square in Cairo but mace, arrest and have a billionaire mayor set the agenda for first amendment free speech and assembly in New York?

Nov. 16 2011 02:56 PM
stan chaz from Brooklyn

They came like thieves in the night...Bloomberg's Blue Shirts. They robbed us of our rights, and our possessions...while preventing reporters from reporting on the scene. No free press...no free speech. Welcome to the new New York. Bloomberg, the self-proclaimed number one defender of free speech (pause for gagging), said in no uncertain terms: "yes, you have the right.....the right to remain silent. So just shut up, and obey". But this is only the beginning dear Mayor .0001%., not the end. This WILL be your legacy- of repression. But you will NOT succeed. These mayors, governors, city councils, police chiefs, and street cops of America need to realize that it is NOT UP TO THEM whether or not Americans peaceably gather, protest, discuss, or demonstrate. It's up to a document called the US CONSTITUTION. You can beat us and arrest us and tear-gas us, you can try to "permit" us to death....but you can't kill an idea. You can't keep down a people’s hopes and dreams for a better life....for us, and for our kids. America USED to work. The people had work. The system worked (sort of). Hey, EVEN the Congress used to work (sometimes). God knows, it was far, far, far from perfect -but at least we all had some share in the struggles AND the rewards. But somewhere along the way, we lost our way. Because now we have an economy and a political system that seems to work only for the rich. With OWS America has found it’s voice, and that voice demands fairness and justice - for ALL. This land IS our land! AND WE WANT IT BACK! We want our LIVES back! We want our FUTURE back! But it’s much more than just words.... it’s much more than politics..... it’s your freakin’ LIFE, and how you want to live it, and how you WILL live it. Find a quiet place somewhere, and consider this: Each of us has only one brief life....one chance....one roll of the dice....and many choices. The time has come to choose....to risk...and to act. If not now...then when? If not you, then....who? You DO have the power my friend....and the choice IS yours. Don’t let your dreams die....

Nov. 16 2011 02:10 PM

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