From the Front Lines as OWS Crumbles

11.15.11 Matt Harvey

Last night, just after 3:00AM, as swarms of cops in riot gear made their final push from all sides into the center of Liberty Plaza, ripping up tents and tossing-around protesters, I was hunkered down with about 50 hardcore OWS folks who were making a last-ditch stand by sitting in a tight formation to establish a human barricade.

Somehow I wound up embedded with nine intense activists who had strung their necks together with “U Locks.” Climbing a table, one of their fellow protesters yelled at the cops: “If you try to pull them out, you’ll break their necks.”

Unfazed, the NYPD pushed forward, violently dragging away members of the human barricade as they tried to hold their ground. Minutes later, with the cops only a few yards away, a few of the people with their necks chained together suggested—that because I was a journalist and not “locked down”—I should take their personal belongings along with messages for their families. I can’t say I wasn’t relieved to get out of there.