After police removed protesters from Zuccotti Park early Tuesday morning, demonstrators broke into part of Duarte Square in a short-lived occupation that led to the arrests of several Occupy Wall Street participants and journalists. NY1’s Lindsey Christ filed the following report.
Reporters started to hear whispers about “Plan B” in the hectic pre-dawn hours on Tuesday after the Occupy Wall Street encampment was cleared out of Zuccotti Park: March to Canal and Sixth Avenue by 9 a.m. and occupy another park.
“Plan B and C and D and E is to just to keep on moving and to recognizing that this is a movement about occupying space and creating civic space where we can build community,” said one protester.
“The message today is we need to expand the movement. We need to occupy and liberate spaces for the people and with the people,” said another.
The eastern part of Duarte Square, near the mouth to the Holland Tunnel, is owned by the city. The western half is owned by Trinity Wall Street, a church near the original encampment that has been supportive of the protest. The space is currently being leased to the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and is closed for the season.
At about 11:15 a.m. on Tuesday, however, protesters hopped the fence and cut through the gate.
“They were kicked out of the park last night,” said a priest present for the incident. “Well, did they really think they would all go home?
The space was not destined to be their second home. Within an hour, dozens of police officers assembled to face down the protesters, most of whom moved out of the park and literally onto the fence.
Eventually the New York City Police Department moved in and arrested about two dozen. Many of those arrested were protesters, but there were also a few journalists.
“They forcibly came in and kicked us out,” said one protester.
Trinity Wall Street released a statement saying it will continue to lend the protesters space in its church, but it didn't give them permission to enter the park.
With Plan B short-lived, the occupiers say they'll figure out their next move and that they won’t be going away.