Occupiers occupy court to interrupt foreclosure auctions

Occupiers occupy court to interrupt foreclosure auctions
Community Newspaper Group / Eli Rosenberg

Police arrested 37 Occupy Wall Street-affiliated protesters who stormed the Kings County Supreme Court on Thursday in an attempt to disrupt foreclosure auctions.

More than 100 protesters converged on the regal court on Adams Street at around 2:30 pm, singing loudly in hopes of interfering with court proceedings they consider unfair to homeowners.

“We are calling for a moratorium on all foreclosures until some accountable and equitable process is developed,” said Walter Hergt, a protest planner of with the group Organizing for Occupation. “The fact that the banks were bailed out — we find that to be unacceptable.”

The demonstrators spilled out of the courtroom into the hallway, chanting, singing, and making noise to interrupt sales of properties with overdue mortgage payments.

“Listen Auctioneer: all the people here, we’re asking you to hold all the sales right now,” they sang. “We’re going to survive but we don’t know how!”

They were not entirely successful — many foreclosure auctions did proceed despite the ruckus. A few, however, were called off after the arrests interfered with the proceedings.

The protesters taken into custody by police received summonses for disorderly conduct, according to a courts spokeswoman.

Despite the arrests —the most at any Occupy event in Brooklyn — organizers deemed the demonstration a victory, saying it proves the movement remains strong after a largely dormant winter.

“We feel that we motivated a lot of people both inside and outside the courtroom so we feel very successful,” said Hergt. “And it shows that Occupy Wall Street and other related political projects are as vibrant as ever going into the spring and summer.”

Not everyone was so pleased with return of the protesters.

“They really accomplished zero,” said a man who worked in the court, but declined to give his name. “All the sales that could go still went. And all this stupidity is just disrupting people trying to do their job.”

One attorney, who also declined to give his name, said the protests were effective — at least in the foreclosure auction he was monitoring.

“It’s their god-given right to do that,” said the lawyer, whose auction never got called because of the demonstrators. “But I’m a little disappointed because I wasted this time.”

The protest isn’t the first of its kind — and neither are the arrests. Police cuffed more than 20 protesters at a similar demonstration at the Kings County Supreme Court in January, and nine in October.

Cops arrested more than 700 people on the Brooklyn Bridge as they tried to reach the borough in an Occupy Wall Street protest in October.

Reach reporter Eli Rosenberg at erosenberg@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2531. And follow him at twitter.com/emrosenberg.