Two photographers were among several journalists arrested in the vicinity of Zuccotti Park, where New York police cleared out Occupy Wall Street protesters early yesterday morning.
Other journalists reported they were roughed up by police and kept at a distance, while TV news helicopters were prevented from covering the police raid on the park from the air.
New York mayor Michael Bloomberg said at a press conference on Tuesday morning that journalists were being prevented from covering the raid “to protect members of the press,” according to a Huffington Post report.
But because journalists were not asking for protection, and were not being attacked by the protesters, many viewed the police action against them as a forced media blackout, intended to prevent coverage that might cast the police in a bad light or generate sympathy for the protesters.
The photographers arrested yesterday included Associated Press photographer Seth Wenig and Paul Lomax of DNAInfo.com, a local news site for Manhattan. Both were arrested shortly after noon near Duarte Square, where some Occupy Wall Street protesters had gathered after the police raid on Zuccotti Park, according to a report from The Guardian newspaper.
DNAInfo reported that Lomax was released after about four hours, and all charges against him were dropped
Police raided Zuccotti Park before dawn on Tuesday, forcing protesters out of the encampment they have occupied for nearly two months. Police then cleared the park of tents, personal effects, and debris. Police said they arrested about 140 protesters in the park while they were clearing it out, and another 50 or 60 people nearby.
Yesterday afternoon, protesters won a court order that allows them to continue their protest in Zuccotti Park, but they will no longer be allowed to set up tents or lie down in the park.
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