New York City—At 12 pm on Sunday, December 4, THE OCCUPY WALL STREET HUNGER STRIKERS were arrested at Sixth Avenue and Canal Street, adjacent to Duarte Square. They were held for five hours and charged with trespassing at the behest of property-owner Trinity Wall Street, an Episcopal Church and large real estate company. The three strikers refused food in jail, and stand-in strikers have joined them in continuing the strike at Duarte Square.
THE OWS HUNGER STRIKERS began their hunger strike at 12 pm on Saturday. They are striking to ask Trinity Church for a temporary occupation site and open community center on Trinity’s vacant lot on Sixth Avenue and Canal Street. The three strikers and three supporters slept overnight on the site in the 40-degree cold without tents or sleepingbags, which were prohibited by the NYPD.
The strike is part of a month-long campaign by members of OWS who have been in dialogue with Trinity Church about the use of the site. Trinity Wall Street has come under increasing scrutiny from members of the New York City faith community, and thousands of clergy-members have signed on to a petition in support of OWS.
The 20,000-square-foot lot is highly visible and currently unused. Trinity Real Estate is developing the site to build a residential high-rise tower, whose zoning will not be approved until October, 2012.
The strikers are calling on Trinity Church to uphold the Episcopal Diocese long tradition of advocating for economic and social equality, protecting the weak and granting sanctuary.
“Trinity, a very wealthy church and major real estate company that is almost synonymous with Wall Street, has to choose between helping an important change movement and calling the police,” said Tom Hintze, one of the stand-in hunger strikers.
Trinity Wall Street is a historic Church and a real estate company,which currently owns six million square feet of property. Occupy Wall Street is a people-powered direct action movement that began on September 17, 2011, in Liberty Square in Manhattan’s Financial District. OWS is part of a growing international movement fighting against crony capitalism, corrupt government controlled by Wall Street, resulting in income inequality, unemployment, environmental destruction, and oppression.