On the afternoon of Saturday, March 24, Occupy Wall Street marched in protest against Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, who has unleashed systematic police brutality against people exercising their First Amendment rights, and called for his resignation. And in a disturbing parallel, the NYPD proved that when it comes to respecting the rights of women, it’s not that different than the Egyptian military.
Around 2:45 p.m., Mesiah Burciaga-Hameed, a 16-year-old activist from Oakland, briefly blocked a police scooter from passing down an East Village street but thought better of it and stepped away. Despite her change of heart, she was quickly snatched from the sidewalk by officers who dragged her, hysterically crying, from her friends. As the officers carried her away, her shirt popped open, revealing a hot pink bra in an episode that echoed a famous image from the Egyptian Revolution when a veiled woman’s clothes were ripped as she was beaten by military police, revealing a bright blue bra.
Tim Pool captured the arrest on his Timcast livestream. (Go to 2:30)
Because of the similarities, the image allegedly caught fire in Egypt within hours. Burciaga-Hameed’s arrest was consistent with the random yet systematic targeting of women, teenagers and men of color for arrest, a pattern noted by many who were following the four-hour march on Twitter.
The procession began at Liberty Square and made its way to Occupied Union Square, and along the way 14 were confirmed arrested. Journalists were once again deprived of their First Amendment rights, with reports of an undercover officer blocking the camera of a New York Times photographer. NYCLU cameras captured TARU officers illegally filming legal protest activity. (Why is this illegal? Familiarize yourself with the Handschu Agreement.)
As Tim Pool pointed out while livestreaming the day’s actions, the Occupy Movement just observed its six-month anniversary, we’re barely a week into spring and already we’ve seen direct action nearly every day. Here are some more images from today’s march: