Occupy Wall Street attempted a reboot yesterday, as thousands took to the streets in cities across the globe. Among the protesters, a minority of so-called black bloc protesters relied on violent and destructive tactics to make their anti-capitalist message heard.
On Tuesday, The Blaze told you about Seattle, Washington, and the mayor's use of emergency powers following black blockers' attacks, as they smashed shop windows, attacked banks and waged random assaults. In New York City, these dangerous individuals took different -- yet equally disturbing -- measures. People dressed in black and with their faces covered attacked photographers and attempted to take their cameras.
The end goal was apparently to seize -- or at least damage -- their devices. While there were no reported injuries, BuzzFeed reports that one photographer was hit in the face and another found herself in a "tug-of-war" of sorts with a protester over her camera. A third individual had her camera smashed by Occupiers, according to witnesses.
"The black bloc crowd has been making grabs for cameras," C.S. Muncy, a photographer who is working on freelance assignments for the Village Voice, told BuzzFeed. "I had a couple people make grabs for my gear. They just didn't want their pictures taken."
Muncy also told BuzzFeed about one of the altercations he saw unfold between a protester and another professional photographer. The photographer, who he claims was Reuters' Lucas Jackson, defended himself.
"One girl walks up to one of the photogs and nailed him right in the face," Muncy said. "He popped her right back."
Muncy tweeted some of the attacks as they unfolded:
Another freelance photographer, Stephanie Keith (mentioned in Muncy's tweet), told the outlet that a masked man grabbed her camera as she was holding it above her head to capture a confrontation between police and Occupiers.
"All of a sudden this guy, who was way bigger than me, grabs my camera [yelling] 'No cameras, no cameras, no cameras,'" she explained. "We were having a fu**ing tug of war over my camera. It's a four thousand dollar camera."
The black bloc protester let go when Keith tried to bite his hand in an attempt to force him to release his grasp on the camera. She also tweeted about the incident:
These weren't the only stories, though. While photographer Jeremy Sparig claims it was Occupy Protesters who inevitably saved him from an attack by black blocers, his story is equally troubling. Metro.us has more:
Photographer Jeremy Sparig was following protesters as they ran along Forsyth Street after marching across the Williamsburg Bridge. The protesters he was specifically shooting were dressed all in black, with black hoods and goggles covering their faces. This group has taken on the moniker Black Bloc.
"I was in the street, shooting this protester as he ran and he said, 'Get out of the street,' or something," Sparig said.
Sparig told the man he was a journalist trying to record the day's events, but that's when the man took a swing at him.
Three other men, also dressed in black with their faces hidden, jumped in and kicked him in the back to the ground, and started punching him in the back of the head. He dodged their blows, but one punch landed solidly right on his crown. Sparig said the first thing he tried to do was shield his head, and then his camera equipment, as he kept telling the men he was a journalist.
The Blaze, too, encountered some resistance from individuals who were in our cameras' line of sight. While shooting a portion of the event, a group of Occupiers yelled at Blaze editor Tiffany Gabbay and me, demanding that we not film them.