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Aug 6, 16

NYC City Hall Shutdown Day 5: Mobility Helps Avoid Setbacks

From Abolition Square Media Collective

Abolition Square has developed a regular routine over this past week developing infrastructure out of cardboard and defining areas of the square through detailed chalk sketches and printed signs. Despite this showing that the movement is becoming more sustainable, the daily monotony left protesters blindsided by actions orchestrated by the NYPD and the City of New York to disrupt the occupation.

Early Friday evening, organizers discovered that West Plaza, the adjacent park that protesters have been occupying during the 12am – 6am window that City Hall Park is locked off, was to be closed at 11pm for a power washing. Occupy veterans recall this tactic, which was used regularly throughout that movement against park-sleepers and sidewalk-sleepers alike. In addition, the NYPD, working in tandem with West Plaza owners, hired private security firm Heightened Security to police the auxiliary park.

Even in the face of this setback, protesters occupied another plaza, further down that same block. Pace Plaza is part of the Pace University campus and has a lone rule of no smoking. The signs list no hours. After a brief standoff with SRG and Park Police, the #ShutDownCityHallNYC coalition marched into the street, blocking traffic momentarily shouting “How do  you spell racist? N-Y-P-D!,” before relocating at Pace Plaza.

The atmosphere at this new park was festive, music blasting from a protester’s car. The Agitation Working Group christened the plaza by burning an American flag, as protesters raised their fists and cheered.

“We should turn this whole neighborhood into Abolition City,” a masked comrade said. Protesters continued to discuss occupation tactics many concluding that keeping the encampment mobile will help avoid repression and will ultimately benefit the longevity of the movement. However, some dissenters argue that a main base should be established out of fear that bad weather and park cleanings will cause numbers to dwindle. Still, the general mood seems to favor current tactics.

As one comrade said, “There are so many stupid little parks like this all over Lower Manhattan. We can play this cat and mouse game with the cops all month.”

Day 5 cover photo

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