It’s been quite a month.
Occupy New Haven, which began with a march of around 1,000 people on the Green exactly a month ago today, held a march and speak-out session today in commemoration of the Occupation’s start. But the day’s events have taken on an even greater significance for the group given events in New York Tuesday morning, when the NYPD, despite angry protestors cleared Zuccotti Park, a symbol of the movement.
City officials say they have no such plans here in the Elm City. City Hall spokesman Adam Joseph said at the start of New Haven’s Occupation that the city’s primary concern with the movement is its safety, and has teamed up with organizers by providing portable toilets.
Joseph reaffirmed that view on Tuesday.
“In New Haven we have a 373-year tradition of public assembly on the New Haven Green — as long as the Occupiers are conducting themselves in a safe and responsible manner, we’re fine with that,” Joseph said. “It’s city and police policy that as long as everybody is following the rules, following the law, we support it as a city.”
NHPD spokesman David Hartman added that the police department has no plans to do “any such thing.”
But New Haven occupiers find the events in Manhattan to be “troubling.”
“Obviously I’m disappointed, I don’t find [the removal] to be justified,” Occupy New Haven participant Ronnie Neuhauser said. “There are a lot of tactics used to get protestors to leave with no good justification.”
The Elm City’s Occupation, however, was not as concerned with the protestors’ removal from the park as it was with the well-being of one of their own, said Occupier Faith Stillman. A New Haven Occupier in a wheelchair known only as Sara was at Zuccotti Park, Stillman said, where she was allegedly pushed out of her wheelchair and kicked on the ground during the police cleaning.
Stillman said Sara’s status is currently unknown, but that the New Haven occupiers feel “outrage” at the situation.
“It’s bulls—,” Stillman said.
But New Haven Occupiers aren’t letting the day’s events hamper their plans. Occupy New Haven organizer Ben Aubin said that the group still had a lot of positives to offer, and that anybody is welcome to join and learn about the group.
Neuhauser said he thought the protestors’ removal from Zuccotti Park would only bring more people out for Thursday’s set of worldwide protests celebrating the movement’s two-month anniversary.
“I don’t think [the removal] will stop much because the movement is liquid now, it’ll move to other places,” Neuhauser said.
Occupy Wall Street began on Sept. 17 and has since attracted worldwide attention.
CORRECTION: Nov. 15, 2011
An earlier version of this article misstated NHPD spokesman David Hartman’s name.