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‘Occupy Wall St.’ to resist mayor’s order to vacate park on Friday

By Stephen C. Webster
Thursday, October 13, 2011 10:54 EDT
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The protesters at “Occupy Wall Street” in New York’s Zuccotti Park have voted to resist an order by the mayor’s office requiring them to vacate the park on Friday for cleaning, setting the stage for a major confrontation with police.

Bloomberg went to the protest site, where several hundred people are camped out, to explain the move, which would be the first time the demonstrators are asked to leave, the mayor’s office said. Bloomberg claimed the owners of the plaza wanted to exercise their duty in cleaning it — and that this was their right, although protestors would be allowed back immediately.

But in a general assembly vote, protesters decided they would clean the park themselves, calling for supporters to donate “brooms, mops, squeegees, dust pans, garbage bags, power washers and any other cleaning supplies” to help their efforts.

“After General Assembly on Thursday, we’ll have a full-camp cleanup session. Sanitation can coordinate, and anyone who is available will help with the massive community effort!” organizers wrote. “Then, Friday morning, we’ll awake and position ourselves with our brooms and mops in a human chain around the park, linked at the arms. If NYPD attempts to enter, we’ll peacefully/non-violently stand our ground and those who are willing will get arrested.”

Virtually all the protesters’ prior confrontations with the New York Police Department have resulted in violence, with each incident seemingly widening their exposure in the national media: something likely on the activists’ minds during their vote to remain in the park.

In a letter to New York’s police commissioner, Brookfield Properties, which manages the park on behalf of the owner, said their policy dictates the park must be cleaned once every day, but it hasn’t been since Sept. 16 because protesters refuse to leave. They also warned of a possible unsafe condition if water seeps into the underground lighting system, insisting that regular maintenance must be carried out.

Protesters were given the rules of the park about two weeks ago, Brookfield said. Those rules also prohibit erecting structures and using tarps, both of which are frequent sights in Zuccotti Park today.

Bloomberg said earlier this week that protesters could stay in the park indefinitely, which the park’s owner supports so long as the property stays clean.

Photo: Flickr user NLNY.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
 
 
 
 
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