Occupy Wall Street kitchen staff protesting fixing food for freeloaders
By SELIM ALGAR and BOB FREDERICKS
The Occupy Wall Street volunteer kitchen staff launched a “counter” revolution yesterday — because they’re angry about working 18-hour days to provide food for “professional homeless” people and ex-cons masquerading as protesters.
For three days beginning tomorrow, the cooks will serve only brown rice and other spartan grub instead of the usual menu of organic chicken and vegetables, spaghetti bolognese, and roasted beet and sheep’s-milk-cheese salad.
They will also provide directions to local soup kitchens for the vagrants, criminals and other freeloaders who have been descending on Zuccotti Park in increasing numbers every day.
To show they mean business, the kitchen staff refused to serve any food for two hours yesterday in order to meet with organizers to air their grievances, sources said.
As the kitchen workers met with the “General Assembly’’ last night, about 300 demonstrators stormed from the park to Reade Street and Broadway, where they violently clashed with cops.
Officers made at least 10 arrests when rowdy demonstrators refused to get out of the street and stop blocking traffic. A dozen cops on scooters tried to force them back to the sidewalk.
There were no reported injuries.
The demonstrators said they were angry over the violence in Oakland.
After making their way to Union Square, many of the protesters returned to Zuccotti.
The Assembly announced the three-day menu crackdown announced earlier in the day — insisting everybody would be fed something during that period.
Some protesters threatened that the high-end meals could be cut off completely if the vagrants and criminals don’t disperse.
Unhappiness with their unwelcome guests was apparent throughout the day.
“We need to limit the amount of food we’re putting out” to curb the influx of derelicts, said Rafael Moreno, a kitchen volunteer.
A security volunteer added that the cooks felt “overworked and underappreciated.”
Today, a limited menu of sandwiches, chips and some hot food will be doled out — so legitimate protesters will have a day to make arrangements for more upscale weekend meals.
Protesters got their first taste of the revolt within the revolt yesterday when the kitchen staff served only peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and chips after their staff meeting.
Organizers took other steps to police the squatters, who they said were lured in from other parks with the promise of free meals.
A team of 10 security volunteers moved in to the trouble-prone southwest section of Zuccotti Park in a show of force to confront them.
“We’re not going to let some members of this community destroy the whole movement,” a volunteer said.
Some arguments broke out as the security team searched tents — but no violence erupted.
Overall security at the park had deteriorated to the point where many frightened female protesters had abandoned the increasingly out-of-control occupation, security- team members said.
Rumors swirled that one homeless man had pulled a knife in a dispute the night before — and that there had been yet another case of groping.
But protesters and a cop on duty told The Post that most of the crime goes unreported, because of a bizarre “stop snitching” rule.
“What’s happening in there is staying in there,” said the cop.
Additional reporting by Josh Saul, Erin Calabrese and Julia Marsh
Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/manhattan/zuccotti_hell_kitchen_i5biNyYYhpa8MSYIL9xSDL#ixzz1c1d8r5su