Jesse Jackson Joins Human Barricade After Tense Confrontation with NYPD

A heated confrontation Monday night between Occupy Wall Street protesters and the NYPD was defused through the help of some civil rights star power: Rev. Jesse Jackson.

As described by Animal New York, a "big commotion" broke out minutes before midnight on the south side of Zuccotti Park, as police closed in to remove the green-and-white "medical tent" that functioned as a first-aid station. "Out of nowhere," they write, Jackson "swooped in and spoke face-to-face with the NYPD."

A demonstrator then asked Jackson to join a human chain encircling the endangered tent, and he "immediately agreed," locking arms with them. A few, tense minutes later, the police left to the cheers of the crowd. As of now, the tent still stands.

Sonic Youth guitarist and local resident Lee Ranaldo tweeted his own photo from the standoff, writing:

"Jesse Jackson at Zuccotti just before midnight. Police confrontation barely averted. Intense!"

Jackson had spent the weekend in Washington, D.C., where he greeted Cornel West and 18 other "veteran leftist activists" as they emerged from a night in jail.

While there, Jackson delivered these thoughts on complaints that the movement has no cohesive agenda:

"Shared economic security is the message. The language isn't there yet but that will come...If the protest remains disciplined, nonviolent and focused, action will follow."

[Animal New York, Salon, photo via Animal New York]