Last night, hours after NBC set up a fake Occupy Wall Street camp as a set for a Law & Order: SVU episode to be filmed today, the real protesters (using the Twitter hashtag #mockupy) swept in and decided to claim it for themselves. Some were upset that the “ripped from the headlines” cop drama was profiting off their “young history”; others just wanted to give a fuck-you to The Man and have a party.
“There are certainly some folks who feel really offended by the attempt to kind of use this very real, very living movement, this economic justice movement that’s making real change for working families in this country, to use it in some kind of story line in this dramatic cop show,” a protester told HuffPo. “There are probably other folks among us who think it’s just a fun excuse to get together and share in public.”
OWS reached out to its supporters over Twitter around 10 p.m. EST, and soon over 100 people had assembled in NYC’s Foley Square (near the original OWS camp at Zuccotti Park).
“They’ve delivered us this perfectly wrapped Christmas present with a bow on top: They rebuilt our camp,” one protester told Mother Jones. “How could we not go and take it?” Um, maybe because it’s not yours. Their revelry obviously attracted police attention: After ”brushing off” those guarding the space, some began dancing and playing drums, while others took advantage of the real kitchen and real tents. Here’s a video of them taking over the camp, chanting things like “The people’s kitchen is now open!”
The prevailing opinion seemed to be about sticking it to NBC, which I think is shitty. “We thought we would bring some extras down and add some reality to this show,” one protester told the New York Times. “Why should they be able to put tents up in a public park when we are unable to do that?”
According to the Twitter account @NewYorkist, it sounds like members of the NYPD contacted someone from Law & Order and got permission to tear down the park. That’s better than what I had initially thought, which was that the police thought they were dismantling an OWS camp. Regardless, the 99%ers who make their living through Law & Order – those who built the set or, sure, the extras playing OWS protesters — might not be able to film today as planned.
As of now, there’s been no official statement from @nbcsvu or the show’s producers themselves.