New York City Major Mike Bloomberg suggested on Friday that he feels he’s been going too easy on the Occupy Wall Street protesters and that more arrests may lie in their future.
During his weekly appearance on WOR-AM radio, Bloomberg stated, “We will start enforcing that more,” with reference to regulations requiring permits for marches and rallies.
The meaning of Bloomberg’s remark was not immediately clear, since the protesters have already run into the risk of clashes with police and mass arrests almost any time they leave their home base of Zuccotti Park. Incidents of this sort have occurred in Union Square, on the Brooklyn Bridge, at Wall Street itself, in Times Square, and in Washington Square Park.
Bloomberg did praise the protesters for being “peaceful” and “generally obeying the law,” but he complained that the demonstrations were interfering with the rights of New Yorkers and insisted that “we’ll eventually have to work something out here.”
According to the New York Post, “The mayor’s office did not have an explanation for the meaning of Bloomberg’s threat.”
Gothamist notes, however, that Bloomberg “said that he had spoken with a landlord whose tenants want to ‘cancel’ their leases, because of proximity to Zuccotti Park” and adds that “earlier this week, he said that he doesn’t believe the OWS tents set up in Zuccotti Park are considered protected speech.”
In response to the mayor’s remarks, OWS media coordinator Thorin Caristo issued a statement charging that “his inability to create a clear and definitive opinion or position on OWS just shows he’s being tossed around like a bird in a storm. We all know what that storm is, that storm is the growing concern in the higher factions of Wall Street, that this movement might actually be making a difference.”
“The mayor’s statements sound hardline and I have no doubt he may actually try to enforce those,” the statement continued. “But we all know that every time excessive police force is used in this situation the movement grows exponentially.”
Photo by Rubenstein [CC-BY-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.