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Police Attack NYC City Hall Encampment

Last night, police in riot gear attacked the City Hall Encampment with batons, injuring a comrade so badly that they have been hospitalized.

Olivia Wood

June 30, 2020
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Photo: G.N. Miller

After last night’s Mass March to Defund the NYPD and Abolish the Police, thousands of people streamed into the encampment across the street. Police barricades were repurposed to expand the area of the encampment to the edge of the Brooklyn Bridge, and protesters adorned the barricades with signs and art. One of the buildings was “redecorated” with slogans such as “Fuck the Police,” hammer-and-sickles, and “None of Us Are Free Until All of Us Are Free.” Teach-ins took place in the street, with hundreds of people discussing the need to defund the police and invest in education, healthcare, housing, and other community needs. 

Around 1:00 a.m., police in riot gear arrived to arrest someone for painting a statue. Other protesters attempted to de-arrest the person, but it was unclear to correspondents whether or not they were successful. The occupiers held the line, and the cops eventually stepped back. 

At about 5:30 a.m., when morning traffic started trying to cross the Brooklyn Bridge, police began another offensive, sending in an estimated 100 additional officers in riot gear to tear down the barricades. The police tore up signs, threw people’s bikes into bushes, and hit protesters with batons. One man’s arm was injured and possibly broken, another person was hit over the head, and the cops arrested Joseph Konnaris, with a knee on his neck and batons pressed into his sides. Video footage shows Kannaris struggling to maintain consciousness while cops ignore protesters’ pleas to get him medical assistance. The NYPD claimed Konnaris was released this afternoon, but as of this article’s publication, no one has heard from him.

The City Hall occupation was applying pressure to the budget vote originally scheduled for 11:00 a.m. this morning. Presumably, the NYPD was attempting to bully people in the occupation in advance of the vote. However, the NYC City Council postponed the meeting to 6:00 p.m. Tonight will be a decisive moment for the occupation. Will protesters accept whatever crumbs are given, or will they continue to fight against the police as we do against evictions, austerity, ICE, and other forms of oppression? Will people decide to leave the occupation, or will they stay? At this point, numbers are the best defense against the police, so it is vital that everyone who can do so goes to the occupation tonight.

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Olivia Wood

Olivia is a writer and editor at Left Voice and lecturer in English at the City University of New York (CUNY).

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