99% Invisible, “Squatters of the Lower East Side”

These evictions provoked the biggest showdown yet between the city and the squatters. On May 30, 1995, the city sent a small battalion of police in riot gear to the Lower East Side. They had a tank repurposed from the Korean War. Officers took up positions on the rooftops of neighboring buildings. Meanwhile, the squatters welded bicycle frames to their fire escapes so it would be difficult for firefighters to climb them. They poured tar on the street, so police would have to march through it as they approached the buildings.

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