(NaturalNews) A recent New York Police Department (NYPD) sweep at Lower Manhattan's Zuccotti Park, where hundreds of Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protesters had been occupying and living in tents, took with it several journalists who were simply there to document what was taking place. CBS 2 News in New York reports that a handful of journalists were arrested along with about 200 OWS protesters, even though they had done nothing wrong.
The New York Daily News (NYDN) reports that during the raid, which cleared the park of all protesters and their belongings, NYPD officers had deliberately restricted press access to the scene. Though they have every right under the US Constitution to be present at such an event, journalists and reporters were denied this freedom (http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nypd-del...).
Worse, some of them were actually handcuffed and removed from the scene along with the protesters, even though their presence was for a different purpose. Associated Press (AP) writer Karen Matthews and photographer Seth Wenig were both apprehended, as were Matthew Lysiak from NYDN and Julie Walker from The Root (http://www.theroot.com/views/getting-arreste...).
Upon hearing about the incident, PEN American Center and Pen International, a global literary community devoted to protecting free speech and expression, issued a statement decrying the actions of NYPD in violating First Amendment rights and protections.
"PEN American Center and PEN International today condemned restrictions on press coverage of police crackdowns on Occupy Wall Street demonstrations in New York and elsewhere, calling the arrests of journalists, the grounding of media helicopters and the restrictions on access to the Occupy sites 'an obvious abridgment of the First Amendment right of all Americans to monitor official actions that clearly carry their own First Amendment concerns.'"
New York City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez (D-Washington Heights) was also reportedly arrested after he showed up on the scene to see what was going on. NYPD officers accused Rodriguez of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, and quickly detained him. Eyewitnesses say he was bleeding profusely from his forehead, indicating that he may have been hit with a baton.
Concerning the various other reporters that were not arrested but that were forced out of view of the raid, Gabe Pressman, president of the New York Press Club Foundation, wrote in a letter to Mayor Bloomberg and NYPD Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly that the actions of police were "outrageous." Pressman is pushing for a full investigation into the matter.