It’s no surprise that Twitter had something to say about the eviction of protesters from Zuccotti Park; after all, the microblogging service has served as a tool for spreading awareness about the #Occupy movement, and has played a crucial role in organizing conversations surrounding #OWS.
On Tuesday morning, more than 200 protesters were arrested and removed from Zuccotti Park in a surprise police raid. Law enforcements were following orders from New York’s Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, who ordered a “park cleaning” early last week.
Bloomberg said that the occupiers were welcome to exercise their right to protest, though he said their tents and living arrangements in the park had become a “health issue,” and were no longer welcome. Mayor Bloomberg told The New York Times that although New York is a place where you can express yourself, he didn’t feel the occupiers were doing that. What’s more, he said, the protestors and their mock-village have made Zuccotti unavailable to anyone else.
Meanwhile, on Twitter, the movement hasn’t stopped: thousands on videos, images, and tweets continue to pour in under the #OWS hashtag. Just search #OWS, #OccupyWallStreet, or any of the other hashtags used for the movement and you’ll find thousands of pieces of citizen journalism, like these images, which document the eviction:
This image was captured by @JATayler and circulated by Andrew Katz (@katz) on November 17. Here’s the caption he provides beneath the image:
And then there’s this image, captured by @OccupyWallStNYC:
If a picture is worth a thousand word, then this image says a lot about the control that’s being exercised over the demonstrators. In the image, we can clearly read that this is a shot of Zuccotti park—a supposedly “public” space. The sign, which clearly reads “open to the public,” is sealed off behind bars, capturing the power-struggle narrative running through the entire story of #Occupy.
And then there’s this video:
While the protestors in New York were being evicted, student demonstrators in California were being pepper sprayed by police officers.
While the examples above are by no means a comprehensive analysis of Twitter’s reaction to the #OWS eviction, the tweets selected demonstrate the general spirit of media being pushed through Twitter under the #OWS hashtag. Almost al of the #OWS citizen media contain the same tropes: cops acting badly, protesters being victimized, and the crowd shouting that one resounding line: “the whole world is watching.”
The whole world is watching, and we’re staying tuned to see what will become of the new arrangements in Zuccotti Park. According to The New York Times, New York police reopened the gates to the park shortly after dark on Tuesday evening to allow 750 people back into the park, single file, and one-by-one. The Times says that people with large backpacks and large amounts of food were turned away.
@Amanda Cosco is a freelance writer, content queen & social media girl genius. To learn more about her, visit her professional blog here.