Occupiers Set Up Camp, Soak Up Rays in Union Square

Occupy in Union SquareJared Malsin

Could Union Square be the next Zuccotti Park? Earlier this afternoon, a group of Occupy Wall Street protesters said that they had decided to attempt an indefinite occupation there, although few were confident that police would allow them to stay for long.

“We reached consensus today to try to make this a permanent occupation,” said Darah McJimsey, a 23-year-old activist who came to New York from California in November to join the Occupy movement full-time. “Although we’re aware of what we’re up against, and we’re going to draw on our skills as far as being mobile.”

The decision to launch an open-ended occupation of Union Square was made by 20 to 30 activists who came there after police forcibly dispersed around 500 people from Zuccotti Park on Saturday. The Union Square group, which has spent two nights there, appears to have attracted support from the broader movement. Occupy Wall Street’s website now features a call to “Occupy Union Square.”

Around noon, some 25 protesters – many of them shirtless in the sunshine – were sitting, standing, and lying on the south steps of Union Square. The weary-looking group had little gear on hand aside from handmade signs, an “OCCUPY WALL ST” banner, and a handful of sleeping bags.

“It’s experimental,” explained Ms. McJimsey. “The cops told us at 4 a.m. that ‘you need to sit up.’ They weren’t going to arrest us for laying down though, so it’s kind of unclear what we’re allowed to do and not allowed to do.”

Earlier today, The Post reported, police arrested Daniel Jaffe, 33, on charges of criminal trespass, disorderly conduct and creating a hazardous condition, after he climbed onto the George Washington statue and refused to come down.

Steven Shryrock, 60, a computer graphics professional who held a cardboard sign reading “Ask us about Occupy Wall St,” was doubtful about whether the newly declared occupation would last. He said, “I don’t know how long we’re going to keep doing it right here, but if the police are going to be so nasty about Zuccotti from now on, it’s hard to say.”

Update: Police Roust Occupiers Out of Union Square Park