Bloomberg tried and failed to sweep the popular protest against Wall Street out of Lower Manhattan this morning. When I arrived around 6.30 a.m., the crowd was just announcing (using their clever human-relay communications system) that the maintenance company would postpone their request to police to clear the Occupy Wall Street site for ‘cleaning’ after all. The sudden need for a clean park precisely at Zucotti was probably a ploy to clear the area and then ring-fence it to put an end to the permanent Tahrir Square-style occupation. The park is very ably maintained now by the protest movement and is tidier than most despite its air of a homeless encampment.
The city’s back-down was another example of people-power. Had there not been hundreds of supportive bystanders and a huge media presence, the occupiers might have been successfully bullied. As it was, the heavy-handed police tactics of the early days merely backfired, and there was a good chance any muscle applied to enforce ‘maintenance’ would have, too. As the police bosses constantly tell those of us uncomfortable with the ubiquitous surveillance cameras snooping at our lives, If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear. Now that everyone carries a videocamera in his pocket, that applies to the cops, too