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My Fox NY Inaccurately Reported on the pro-Gaza Protest at Times Square

November 19, 2012 Comments off

This man, taken into custody by police, was thrown to the ground by police when witnesses said he appeared to resist arrest. Though Fox News NY claims this protest “remained peaceful,” he lay in a pool of his own blood, some of it covering his face. Taken at Times Square on Sunday, November 18, 2012 at the barricades in front of the pro-Palestinian rally on support of Gaza.

A group of Palestinians and their supporters, including Jewish members of the group NKUSA, held a rally in Times Square on Sunday afternoon to protest Israeli attacks on Gaza and to show solidarity with Palestinians. A group of pro-Israeli supporters set themselves up directly across the street from the Palestinians, but they moved further away when tensions grew, insults were traded and violence looked like it might ensue. At some points it did, though you would not know it if  you listened to Fox News or others stations that covered the event.

At about 4:30 pm two men in support of the Israeli went into the middle of the street next to the police barricades, approached the Palestinian group and began to taunt them. A small number of men from the pro-Palestinian side jumped over the barricade, and a fight quickly ensued, according to Andrew Wright, an independent journalist and eyewitness of the event. Police nearby formed a ring around the men, making it extremely difficult to tell which side threw the first punch.

At least three men were put in handcuffs and arrested by police, two of whom had visible flags or other markings identifying them with the Palestinian side, including the man in the pictures with a bloodied face. It was not clear if one of the three men arrested at the scene was from the pro-Israeli side, as police physically blocked journalists from taking pictures and forced them to leave the area.

In a video report posted on the My Fox NY News website, posted just after the protest, entitled “NYC reaction to conflict in Middle East,” reporter Stacey Delikat claimed that “those demonstrations in Time Square did remain peaceful.” (fast forward to 02:03 in the video) This is simply incorrect. Ms. Delikat should have been aware of the violence because in the same report she says that police told My Fox News NY, the company for which she filed her report, that they “are expecting more [protests by pro-Palestinian supporters] like them in the coming weeks.”

A man with markings that appeared to identify him with the pro-Palestinian side of the rally was tackled by police after eyewitnesses said he had resisted arrest when police tried to break up a fight between Jews and Palestinians in Times Square on Sunday, November 18, 2012. Police handled him pretty roughly, and can be seen pushing his head into the pavement.

Ms. Delikat also mentioned that “earlier today there was a heavy police presence in Times Square.” Might the “heave police presence” have something to do with the tensions the two groups have due to the escalating violence in Gaza? Her video focused instead efforts of peace between Israelis and Palestinians in New York, which is real but is not the whole story as the pictures make clear.

AM New York, a free daily that is given to people as they enter the subways on their way to work, also covered the same protest. Their article by Sheila Feeney, entitled “Pro and anti Israel demonstrators both rally in Times Square,” says “It was unclear if any arrests were made in connection with the demonstrations yesterday.” It looked pretty clear to those on the scene that at least three men were detained, put in handcuffs and taken away by police. Two independent journalists are on record saying they saw these men being arrested. Details about what happened to them afterwards have not been reported publicly, but eyewitnesses said the man with the bloodied face had tried to resist arrest, which was why he was tackled by police. Was there not at least one arrest then?

PressTV, which is an Iranian station, filed a video report by Hank Flynn entitled “New Yorkers urge Israel to end war on Gaza.” It too failed to mention violence at the NYC protest in its report either, though they had been seen in the area round the time of the violence filming by reporter Andrews, cited earlier.

When contacted and shown a copy of the photos, the Associated Press said “Unfortunately the photos have lost their news value – they arrived a day after the protest,” and was not interested in publishing them. Fox NY News could not be reached for comment, and the managing editor at AM New York was unable to be reached, even though he was called several times. PressTV’s offices are in Iran, with no local number listed on their website.

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Not only was there violence at the protest, but from the very beginning of the rally at 2:40 pm, there was a lot of tension and events looked like they might easily get out of control, at least until the two groups were separated by police to an even greater distance. One man in the pro-Palestinian group made threatening gestures towards the Israeli side early on in the protest, first giving the middle finger and then putting his hand in the shape of gun and doing a mock shooting.

Additionally, several people from the pro-Israeli side were observed walking over to Jewish members in support of the Palestinian side, saying inaudible words in Hebrew and, in at least one case, spitting on Jewish members of NKUSA, according to Mr. Wright. It is no wonder the police had to separate the groups, and there had to be a “heavy police presence.” The majority of people on both sides were non-violent, including 50 or so members of the pro-Israeli and several hundred members of the pro-Palestinian side, but there were violent incidents and clear signs of threats. Is it accurate to claim the rallies were “peaceful”?
Megacast News

Occupy sues NYC for destruction of its library in federal court

May 24, 2012 Comments off

Books recovered after the November 15, 2011 raid. Source: Village Voice.

On November 15, 2011 Mayor Bloomberg sent the NYPD and sanitation department to remove the encampment at Zuccotti Park. During the raid most of the roughly 5000 books of the People Library were confiscated. Not all of the books were returned, said Occupy. Of those that were returned, some were clearly damaged beyond use. The damage appeared to be consistent with being put through large compactors. Computers seen were also visibly bent and appeared to have been damaged during or after the raid.

Just over six months later Occupy filed for losses of “$47,000 worth of books, computers and other equipment,” reported Reuters. Well-known attorney Norman Siegel is among the lawyers representing Occupy’s library claim in the suit Occupy Wall Street et al. v. Michael Bloomberg et al., U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 12-4129.

Occupy members say the damage to the library was resulted as a result of the raid on November 15, 2011. The City of New York have not yet given statements on the status of the case. Two days after the raid tens of thousands of people took to the streets to protest the removal of occupy from Zuccotti Park. Though recently returned to Wall St. itself, occupy has not established a tent city like it had last year. It remains to be ween what the result of the lawsuit will be or if Occupy will return to the spotlight again this year.

Civis Journal

Food Insecurity at Zuccotti Park

March 20, 2012 Comments off

Tigga and other members of the Occupy Wall Street Kitchen Group prepare sandwiches just outside the fence of Zuccotti Park on November 21, 2011.

November 22, 2011

When Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York City, ordered the removal of Occupy Wall Street from Zuccotti Park on November 15th, he made life more difficult for the occupiers in a political as well as humanitarian sense. This is, at least, what members of Wall Street maintain.

The pre-raid park boasted of a kitchen, hospital, library and bank. The proximity of these tents allowed Zuccotti to serve as a central hub of communications. Volunteers, attached to their respective tents, could coordinate logistics to assist those who needed it. The clinic treated injuries, pepper spray victims and hypothermia cases. The kitchen, for example, prepared and distributed warm meals. Looking at Occupy since their removal, it is evident things are very different.

There are days when some people at the park do not have enough food to eat – or any at all.  This is hardly surprising considering the large number of homeless and poor in the movement. With the reopening of the park, private security now requires all food be prepared off-site, which means it must be transported and then served to people outside the park. Needless to say, this makes feeding the occupiers considerably more difficult.

“We got peanut butter and jelly,” said Tigga as he offered food to hungry occupiers waiting inside the park on the other side of the fence. On November 22nd, he was one of several kitchen members who attempted to make sandwiches in the park, and was refused entry by police. “They can bring it over [the fence], but not the crate,” said a police officer nearby. She said food could be passed over the metal fences if it was prepared outside.

The group did not offer any resistance to police as they made sandwiches, but some members expressed their discontent. “I don’t see why we shouldn’t bring food into the park. I mean, all we gonna do is eat it,” said Donald, a kitchen member who helped distribute bagels and bread.

After the two officers left, park security approached the occupiers saying they could not pass food over the fence. “These guys are not worried about politics. These guys are bringing food to hungry people,” said Jason, who added that the park’s rules were arbitrary and designed to get members to leave the park. “They want us to go hungry. They want us to be cold. They want us to go away,” said Jason.

Staff Reporter

Occupy members stand in rain to protest the Federal Reserve

March 20, 2012 Comments off

Protesters stage a protest outside the New York office of the Federal Reserve in the rain on November 22, 2011.

November 24, 2011

They met at the corner of Liberty and Nassau Streets in the late afternoon of November 22, 2011. About 20 protesters held signs for more than an hour just across the street from a Chase bank, directly outside the Federal Reserve building. It was a miserable evening, filled with rain and chilly air.

About a dozen police officers were around the intersection, with at least another two dozen or so just a block away. A police truck was parked opposite the protesters, apparently serving as a reminder that disorderly conduct would not be tolerated, one protester remarked.

Some of the protesters are affiliated with Occupy Wall Street, and a few had signs with words like “virtual monopoly,” “semantic deception,” whilst other held pictures of Presidential candidate Ron Paul. They also chanted similar slogans, with a few members openly expressing support for Mr. Paul.

Christina Gomez, 31 from Florida, said she had come to the area in the belief that “the Federal Reserve should be ended”. She also said that, whilst she was not a supporter of Ron Paul per se, she would support “anybody’s who’s interested in ending the central control of our banking,” listing Representatives Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and Sandra Adams (R-FL) as other politicians with whom she agrees on certain ideas.

An Asian American protester affiliated with Occupy, who identified himself as Ross, shared Ms. Gomez’s ideas on closing the Federal Reserve. He said, “Pretty much any problem you can name related to the financial crisis, this all comes through the Federal Reserve.” He added, “our money is valued based on what the Federal Reserve sets, and they’re not accountable to the US government.”

In discussing the presence of some Ron Paul supporters at Occup events, he said, “There’s a fair amount of overlap” with the Tea Party on “economic issues” and “restoring the rule of law”, though he pointed out that the two groups hardly ever meet. He seemed to entertain the idea that a sort of bridge of understanding between the two groups could be built, and that – at least on some issues – they might be able to meet each other half way across it.

One protester, who did not give his name, said that police gave him a hard time when he looked in the back of a police van, saying he had peered in to see what was inside, though he said he had stepped on the van to do so. No confrontations were observed when our reporter was at the scene, and a few police officers actively engaged in friendly conversations with protesters.

Staff Reporter