By Samuel Newhouse
ADAMS STREET — Members of the Occupy Wall Street movement rallied about 100 protesters Thursday for a demonstration outside (and inside) Brooklyn Supreme Court. At least nine protesters were arrested after interrupting the weekly foreclosure auction by continuously singing and refusing to leave.
The protesters were there to demand that “all foreclosures be halted until loans are modified, made fair and accessible, and banks and lenders be held accountable.”
“Housing is a human right,” several protesters declared.
A handful of protesters secretly entered the foreclosure auction on the main floor and sat there quietly until simultaneously interrupting it for a prolonged period of time, by standing up, singing and clapping their hands. “Mrs. Auctioneer, all the people here, we’re asking you to hold all the sales right now, we’re going to survive, but we don’t know how,” they sang.
Reports Thursday afternoon said that nine people were arrested for disrupting the auction, led out in plastic zip-tie handcuffs by NYPD officers and Brooklyn court officers.
The judges at the Kings County Supreme Court Civil Term didn’t seem too ruffled by the protest outside their offices overlooking Court Street.
“They have a right to express themselves,” said Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Arthur Schack when asked whether he thought the protesters were misguided. “I have no problem with the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights.”
Ironically, Kings County Supreme Court is considered to be one of the most progressive courts in the nation and state when it comes to foreclosure law. It’s where mandatory settlement conferences and other reforms aimed at easing the process for struggling homeowners have been instituted first before being copied in other counties and states.
“It’s certainly good that all of these things are happening and exist in Brooklyn, but it’s not enough,” said Michael Strohm of Organizing for Occupation, which joined Occupy Wall Street Thursday. “[It’s] a housing process where any shred of humanity is being treated like a gift — whereas we have a right to housing.”
One court employee said, “We are the 99 percent in this building. We’re not the guys who hurt people, we’re the people who help them.”