Judge rules against occupation of Zuccotti Park

By David Edwards
Tuesday, November 15, 2011 16:53 EDT
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The New York Supreme Court on Tuesday reversed a temporary restraining order that barred New York City from evicting “Occupy Wall Street” protesters from Zuccotti Park.

Tents and other structures will no longer be allowed in the park. Protesters will be permitted back into the park under restrictive circumstances.

A temporary restraining order issued by Judge Lucy Billings in the immediate hours after park evictions early Tuesday morning said that the city was “prohibited from: “(a) Evicting protesters from Zuccotti Park and/or (b) Enforcing the “rules” published after the occupation began or otherwise preventing protesters from re-entering the park with tents and other property previously utilized.”

At a press conference Tuesday morning, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that protesters would not be allowed back into the park until the city had a chance to review that ruling.

By 5 p.m. ET, New York Supreme Court Justice Michael D. Stallman had decided not to extend that restraining order.

“The Court is mindful of movants’ First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and peaceable assembly,” Stallman wrote in his ruling. “However, ‘[e]ven protected speech is not equally permissible in all places at all times.’ … Here, movants have not demonstrated that the rules adopted by the owners of the property, concededly after the demonstrations began, are not reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions permitted under the First Amendment.”

“The movants have not demonstrated that they have a First Amendment right to remain in Zuccotti Park, along with their tents, structures, generators, and other installations to the exclusion of the owner’s reasonable rights and duties to maintain Zuccotti Park, or to the rights of public access of others who might wish use the space safely. Neither have the applicants shown right to a temporary restraining order that would restrict the City’s enforcement of law so as to promote public health and safety.”

Occupy Wall Street lawyer Yetta Kurland vowed that the protests would continue.

“Win lose or draw the 99% will continue to show up, continue their protest,” Kurland said, according to Alternet’s Sarah Jaffe.

CNN said late Tuesday that some protesters were returning to the park, but expected to police to react if they tried stay overnight.

Watch this video from CNN’s The Situation Room, broadcast Nov. 14, 2011.

David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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