CBS = lies
NYPD = lies
CNN = lies
January 11's rally is described by CBS only had 150 "pro-Palestinian" participants, which is an absolute lie. I've been so busy the last couple of days, I haven't had time to put up all of my photos from Sunday's protest.
The above are links to US media coverage (CNN and CBS) of the NY protest on Sunday, January 11, 2009. I attended this event from start to finish and was able to capture some of the violence that was happening at the end. I witnessed a few incidence, including mace victims who were also beaten down by NYPD cops, and was pushed by a cop myself for having a camera. My photographer friend was grabbed by the neck and pushed away when he couldn't comply because something was blocking his path. I also interviewed one mace victim when I bumped into him on my train ride home.
The CBS article was completely fallacious. I was enraged when I read it. It called our protest a "Pro-Palestinian" rally, which makes our movement sound like some sort of nationalist movement (which it only partially is, for example, Palestinian's right to a sovereign state and their right to return to their homeland), but mainly, our protest is about freeing the Palestinian people from IDF occupation and terror, specifically in Gaza due to the atrocities that are occurring there. Next, they claimed that our rally was small (they called it the, "much smaller Pro-Palestinian rally" when comparing it to the Pro-Israel by the United Nations), and that there were only "about 150 participants," which you will be able to see from my photos that that is a complete lie.
There were easily thousands of people on Sunday protesting for Gaza. The NYPD blocked us off on 51st and 9th, claiming that it was an emergency road only and that we couldn't walk anymore. I'm not sure if that was our stopping point, but we were locked there for the rest of the protest, which lasted probably about another hour and a half. Our speakers came out, and some people started to get frustrated being stuck in one place, so some people started opening the gates and leaving. At this time, tons of cops began entering the street, and tried to clear the sidewalks of protesters. As many of them as there were they weren't really successful. My friend and I were outside of the gate by this tree, and when a cop told us to move, we moved to the other side of the tree. Maybe ten minutes later, another cop would come and then we'd go to the other side of the tree. It was completely stupid. They were doing this to everyone but weren't really successful in getting us to move - but the thing is, we weren't really blocking the sidewalk anyway because most of us were right against the gates. One guy got into an argument with a cop, probably about being pushed around, and they started getting into each other's faces. Luckily, nothing happened, other than both sides pulling each of them away. I documented all of that.
After the speakers were done, everyone started to leave. I was on the outside of the fence where all the cops were, and they were trying to push all the outside protesters back into the gates (basically, we're cattle). When one of them saw me and saw my camera, he started yelling at me, "Hey! What are you doing here?! Do you have a press pass? Where's your press pass? This is authorized personnel only!!" When I told him that I was waiting for my photographer friend, he said he didn't care, and yelled, "Get outta here!!" and pushed me several feet inside the gate (with force, and I stand about 5'3"). I had knee surgery 4 months ago - had I not been fully recovered, I would have lost my balance. Asshole!
At this point, things started to get chaotic, and next to me was a kid who looked like he was crying, because tears were going down his cheeks. His friends all surrounded him, holding him up, and a few NYPD cops who were on the other side of the gate were addressing him. "Don't put water on it, it'll make it worse," said one of the cops.
I asked one of the bystanders what had happened and he said, "They maced him!"
Police brutality - live! Not that this made me happy-excited, but it did have me excited, as I went around trying to figure out what was going on, because I wanted to capture it with my lens to counter any media source that said otherwise. One kid was holding his eye, and yelling at a cop, as if he had just been hit. His friend pulled him away. I couldn't get his story because he was too pissed off.
My friend and I watched several arguments start breaking out, as people continued exiting the block and onto 9th Avenue. We decided to leave the drama because it was seemingly dying down and stopped at a cafe to grab a bite to eat. I go to the ladies' room....
..and when I come out, my friend is gone. And his camera.
I run outside, and immediately see a barage of cops...cops on foot, cops on horses, cops on their bikes..running, all towards this one corner of the street, to create a big blob of cops. Everyone (mostly cops) is in a state of panic, and I as I capture a few shots of the mess with my camera, I see a man getting thrown onto the cop car with his hands behind his back to get cuffed. Then I catch a man after having been arrested be escorted away by a cop, an expression of annoyance but submission on his face.