The "Frozen Zone"

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Nov. 15 2011 3:24 PM

The "Frozen Zone"

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NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 15: Occupy Wall Street activists protest outside Zuccotti Park after police removed the protesters early in the morning from Zuccotti Park on November 15, 2011 in New York City. Hundreds of protesters, who rallied against inequality in America, have slept in tents and under tarps since September 17 in Zuccotti Park, which has since become the epicenter of the global Occupy movement. The raid in New York City follows recent similar moves in Oakland, California, and Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

One of today's must-reads: This Josh Harkinson piece, written after he spent as long as possible at Occupy Wall Street, defying police orders to skedaddle. Not to spoil it, but he's pulled away after watching police tear up the encampment. In the process, he hears an unfamiliar term.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

"Can I help you?" an burly officer asked me, his helpfulness belied by his scowl.
"I'm a reporter," I told him.
"This is a frozen zone, alright?" he said, using a term I'd never heard before. "Just like them, you have to leave the area. If you do not, you will be subject to arrest."
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And:

"Why are you excluding the press from observing this?" I asked.
"Because this is a frozen zone. It's a police action going on. You could be injured."

So, what's a "frozen zone"? It's an area secured by police typically because they're guarding it from possible terror threats. Zuccotti Park is very close to Ground Zero, which is being built up, finally, and the last time there was a "frozen zone" there it was when the cops were girding for the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I haven't seen a "frozen zone" applied to a situation like this -- an evacuation of protesters, none of whom (in New York) had been violent.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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