Police Again Sweep Protesters Out of Union Square Park

unionsq2Daniel Maurer Police move protesters away from the park.

The police barricaded Union Square Park and its southern esplanade shortly after midnight, triggering a standoff with Occupy Wall Street protesters who had once again gathered on the park’s steps.

After announcing that resisters would face arrest, police officers, some in riot gear, swept about 75 people to the park’s western sidewalk by moving forward en masse and setting up metal barriers incrementally until the entire sidewalk on the south side of the park – along with the subway entrance – was blocked off. At Union Square Park West and 15th Street, around 50 officers coolly stood guard behind barricades while several protesters hurled expletives and insults at them.

One protester mockingly hoisted a homemade barricade in the air. Another loudly invited police to “come to the side of the people who don’t beat women,” referring to the arrest of Mesiah Hameed hours earlier.

The standoff took on the air of a spectator sport when a group watching from across the street warbled the national anthem and called out, “Play ball!” At other times, protesters hopped around and clucked like chickens.

An hour after the park was closed, no arrests had been made and the number of demonstrators began to dwindle.

The dramatic closing, which has become a nightly routine since police rousted protesters from the park last Saturday, capped off a day in which 14 arrests were made at two separate rallies.