Special protection? OWS drums blocked from Bloomy's house
Sunday, November 20 2011, 6:03 PM
Occupy Wall Street protesters who were kicked out of their downtown “home” last week moved uptown Sunday, to lay siege to Mayor Bloomberg’s swank Upper East Side townhouse with drumming and chanting.
But cops closed down the block, one of the city’s most exclusive, forcing Bloomberg’s neighbors on E. 79th St. between Fifth and Madison to show ID to get past barricades.
City Hall officials would not say if the billionaire mayor was home to hear the commotion. They shutdown of E. 79th street was standard during past protests of the mayor’s house.
“A Fifth Avenue setup is typically used for protests like this, and long has been,” said spokesman Stu Loeser.
Protesters whose encampment at Zuccotti Park was demolished last week vowed to keep up the drumming for 24 hours — until 2 p.m. Monday.
“Bloomberg made a big mistake kicking the protesters out - now they’re everywhere,” said Marian Swerdlow, 62, who lives on the upper East Side and teaches in south Brooklyn.
“It’s going to keep spreading. He'll see that this movement has support," she said. "He has to start treating people with respect."
She carried a sign bearing three names: Mubarak, Ghadafi, Bloomberg. The first two, notorious dictators toppled this year, were crossed out.
There was a festive atmosphere with dancing and singing.
"She gives a good energy to the protests," said the dancing motm. "She wants her social security.”
Of the mayor, she said, “he was complaining that we were bothering people downtown. So let's bother him up here.”
People trying to get to meetings on the block weren’t happy.
“It's noisy. It's silly. The mayor's probably either in South Hampton or Bermuda. You're torturing all these people here and it makes no sense,” said David Gordon, 62, a college professor from Queens.
Ellen Epstein, a retiree from Midtown who was also trying to get to a meeting, called the protest ridiculous.
“They're all insane. They belong in Bellevue,” she said. “The mayor wouldn't even be able to hear it. The whole thing is a joke.”
Erika Hughes, an octogenarian who lives on the block, said she backed the protesters and hoped they found some focus.
“They should get their act together and find one or two main issues,” she said.
And the noise? “It doesn't bother me. There's always noise on Fifth Ave. We have parades every other Sunday,” Hughes said.
Protester Aaron Black, 38, said the mayor had a lot to answer for after the overnight raid.
"He sent people down (to Zuccotti Park) and they beat us up and stole our property and violated our rights,” he said.
“He came to us, now we are going to him,” Black said. "He's not listening, and he needs to hear us.”
Meanwhile, the most indelible photos of Thursday’s mass protests - taken not in Manhattan but at the campus of UC Davis - resulted in the suspension of two cops after the casual pepper-spraying of protesters seated on the sidewalk.
At first, the university administration defended the action, saying the police were under threat.
Campus police chief Annette Spicuzza claimed “students had encircled the officers” and “they were unable to exit.”
But a video and numerous photos of the incident showed campus cop were not surrounded and that Lt. John Pike walked calmly back and forth, deliberately spraying the faces of students sitting passively blocking a walkway.
Two were hospitalized.
Amid growing calls for her resignation, UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi called the images “chilling to us all” and said she would form a task force to investigate and deliver results in February.
On Sunday, two unnamed campus cops were placed on admininstrative leave, the college said.
Last month, NYPD Deputy Inspector Antony Bologna was docked 10 days vacation after he was filmed pepper-spraying two penned women without provocation.
The UC Davis students plan a much larger new protest Monday.
“As the spotlight of the world rests upon our campus, we, the students, have an opportunity to assemble and showcase the moral strength and power of peaceful protest, especially in the face of overwhelming and violent oppression,” Occupy Davis said in a statement.