When the NYPD cleared Zuccotti Park in the early morning hours of November 15, officers seized thousands of books that protesters had accumulated and turned into a extensive collection they called “the people’s library.”
A representative from Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s office released a photo later that day of some of the books, saying protesters could retrieve them from the Department of Sanitation. Occupy Wall Street, though, is now saying most of the books are still unaccounted for and the ones that have been recovered, are damaged and unusable.
Occupy Wall Street hosted a press conference today to address Mayor Bloomberg over the fact that less than a fifth of the people’s library is usable, protesters say. Speakers included representatives from the National Lawyers Guild, law professors and members of the American Library Association.
“The people’s library was destroyed by NYPD acting on the authority of Mayor Michael Bloomberg on the night of the raid,” said William Scott, a protesters who identifies himself as an Occupy Wall Street librarian. “In addition to all our supplies, laptops, and tent, they threw roughly 4,000 books into garbage trucks and dumpsters that were adjacent to the park, as well as assorted rare documents that were associated with OWS.”
Occupy Wall Street said protesters are still waiting for the Department of Sanitation to hand over about 2,900 books and documents. Only 1,099 have been retrieved, according to OWS, and some of them were not library books to begin with. Protesters say only about 800 of those books can still be used.
An email request for a response from Mayor Bloomberg’s office was not immediately answered.
Here’s video of the NYPD clearing out the people’s library during the November 15 clean-up of Zuccotti Park.