The animals came out of hibernation to have a temper tantrum last night in Zuccotti Park. It was mostly peaceful, of course, except for all the arrests.
Dozens of police officers cleared the park where the Occupy movement was born six months ago and made several arrests after hundreds of protesters returned in an anniversary observance and defiantly resisted calls to clear out.
Some demonstrators locked arms and sat down in the middle of Zuccotti Park near Wall Street after police announced on a bullhorn at around 11:30 p.m. Saturday that the park was closed. Officers then poured into the park, forcing most of the crowd out and surrounding a small group that stayed behind. Police formed a human ring around the park to keep protesters out.
Several people were arrested, police said. An unused public transit bus was brought in to cart away about a dozen demonstrators in plastic handcuffs. One female under arrest had difficulty breathing and was taken away in an ambulance to be treated.
Remember this lunatic, who became the face of the “movement” last fall? When last seen, she was babbling incoherently about these cretins being part of an army or something.
The unemployed Long Island native and self-described “vegan freak” — who said she was into “unschooling” her children — had been a fixture at the protest camp since she abandoned her home in Deland and her kids, ages 7 to 17.
“I’m not planning on going home,’’ the wayward flower child had told The Post about two weeks after she joined the rabble at Zuccotti Park.
“I have no idea what the future holds, but I’m here indefinitely. Forever.”
Bizarrely, she compared her decision to leave her family to choices made by heroic members of the armed forces.
“Military people leave their families all the time,” she said.
OK. Perhaps her family has been wondering where this mess has been.
Well, she’s back now.
Stacy Hessler held up a cardboard sign that read, “Spring is coming,” a reference, she said, both to the Arab Spring and to the warm weather that is returning to New York City. She said she believes the nicer weather will bring the crowds back to Occupy protests, where numbers have dwindled in recent months since the group’s encampment was ousted from Zuccotti Park by authorities in November.
But now, “more and more people are coming out,” said the 39-year-old, who left her home in Florida in October to join the Manhattan protesters and stayed through much of the winter. “The next couple of months, things are going to start to grow, like the flowers.”
Some have questioned whether the group can regain its momentum. This month, the finance accounting group in New York City reported that just about $119,000 remained in Occupy’s bank account — the equivalent of about two weeks’ worth of expenses.
But Hessler said the group has remained strong, and she pronounced herself satisfied with what the Occupy protesters have accomplished over the last half year.
“It’s changed the language,” she said. “It’s brought out a lot of issues that people are talking about. … And that’s the start of change.“