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Mass rallies and muzzled media: 2 months of OWS

Occupy Wall Street protesters in New York have returned to the epicenter of the movement, Zuccotti Park, but without their tents and sleeping bags. Massive rallies are expected to resume throughout the United States.

­They were told they could stay, but they cannot camp, after police in riot gear evicted protesters on Tuesday night, citing health and safety issues.

It was part of a country-wide wave of raids on protesters, which activists say was a move to stifle their activities before the movement's two-month mark.

Radio host Alex Jones believes the apparent “health hazard” reasons given for the evictions was a set-up from the start, and an effort to demonize the very idea of protests in the US.

“I’ve discovered in Austin and in Detroit – as well as New York, we’ve confirmed – that when they let homeless people out, who’ve been arrested for being drunk in public or sleeping on the sidewalk, or they release people from prison or homeless shelters, or mental institutions, they tell them: ‘Go to Austin Occupy, go to New York Occupy – we won’t arrest you there’,” he told RT.

“So for the last month they’ve been sending all the homeless people and mentally ill people and prisoners there, so they can then demonize it and say: ‘Look, people are going to the bathroom on the ground, fights are breaking out, there are robberies,” Jones went on to explain. “Now, they are in the business of demonizing it, infiltrating it, to try to manufacture on dig up dirt on them as a way to generally demonize all forms of protest in the country.”

It is not yet clear whether protesters will be able to turn out in massive numbers across the country, given all the recent police raids. If they do, however, that would mean that the US authorities have to deal with a much stronger force than they might have expected.

RT’s producer Lucy Kafanov has spoken to several protesters in New York City, who said that they were prepared and even expecting to get arrested for non-violent civil disobedience. They are going to try to take over Wall Street around the New York Stock Exchange area and stage a mass sit-in.

More actions are planned throughout the day. By 5 pm local time (22:00 GMT), a massive rally with unions is expected to take place in the area, culminating in a march across the Brooklyn Bridge – the scene of last month’s dramatic events, when 700 protesters were arrested by police.

­Media blackout

­The level of media clampdown related to the OWS protests seems to remain as high as it has been. The raid in Zuccotti Park saw several journalists arrested. Police reportedly ripped off the credentials of one NBC reporter and asked the CBS news helicopter to clear the airspace so that journalists would not capture images of the events.

RT’s Lucy Kafanov has witnessed personally or was told by fellow journalists about various incidents in which reporters were practically kicked off the scene, prevented from filming and deliberately targeted in some places in various cities throughout the country where OWS protests took place.

An RT crew has also managed to capture images of police officers using in certain instances high-power strobe lights in order to blind video-cameras and prevent journalists from fulfilling their professional duties.