As Cold Sets In, Few Occupiers Remain

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Despite barricades coming down, some OWS members long for the reoccupation of Zuccotti Park

By Anam Baig

The barricades surrounding Zuccotti Park were taken down Tuesday night, but the Occupy Wall Street movement has seemingly abandoned its former residence for warmer ground.

McGuiness, a white-bearded anarchist who prefers to go by one name, has occupied the park since September. On the afternoon of Thursday, Jan. 12, he and only a few other members of the movement were hanging around Zuccotti Park, hoping, they said, for a rebirth of the revolution.

"The cold is keeping the people away, but no revolution has stopped because it was cold or rainy or snowy. When the park was evicted, there was an attempt to occupy Duarte Square, but it fell through," McGuiness said. "Now, most of the occupiers have either gone home or are waiting for the spring-or they're up at 60 Wall St. But I think that's stupid; a movement loses momentum like that. Clearly, the protest wasn't planned for the winter, even though it was started in September.

"I'll be here, though, night and day," he said, "whether I have to sleep under a bench or on a train."

According to the occupiers, there were four arrests last week; three of them occurred the night the barricades were taken down. One person was arrested for sitting on a barricade and two others for lying down in the park, said OWS members. All allegedly received charges of trespassing.

An atrium at 60 Wall St., a 55-story skyscraper that is the headquarters of Deutsche Bank, is now the new meeting spot for pivotal members of the 99 percent movement. This area, as required by City Council, is a privately owned public plaza where people can meet, eat and stay warm, an ideal location for OWS members working on meetings, marches and other movement business.

Most of these occupiers, however, were hesitant to give interviews. This could be due to media burnout or, as one occupier, who preferred to remain anonymous, claimed last week, rumors of CIA and FBI involvement.

The scene at OWS' new location is decidedly low profile. As the mild winter rages on, the movement has brewed to a simmer, but some promise a full comeback by spring.

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