The PJ Tatler

Bloomberg Orders Zuccotti Park Cleared, Judge Halts Him

This morning, NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered police to clear Zuccotti Park of the occupy protesters who have been camped there without permits for weeks.

At one o’clock this morning, the New York City Police Department and the owners of Zuccotti Park notified protestors in the park that they had to immediately remove tents, sleeping bags and other belongings, and must follow the park rules if they wished to continue to use it to protest. Many protestors peacefully complied and left. At Brookfield’s request, members of the NYPD and Sanitation Department assisted in removing any remaining tents and sleeping bags. This action was taken at this time of day to reduce the risk of confrontation in the park, and to minimize disruption to the surrounding neighborhood.

Protestors were asked to temporarily leave the park while this occurred, and have been told that they will be free to return to the park once Brookfield finishes cleaning it later morning. Protestors – and the general public – are welcome there to exercise their First Amendment rights, and otherwise enjoy the park, but will not be allowed to use tents, sleeping bags, or tarps and, going forward, must follow all park rules.

The law that created Zuccotti Park required that it be open for the public to enjoy for passive recreation 24 hours a day. Ever since the occupation began, that law has not been complied with, as the park has been taken over by protestors, making it unavailable to anyone else.

Protester’s tents and tarps were cleared about about 200 arrests were made. But a judge has now issued a temporary restraining order halting the police from removing the protesters.

A New York judge on Tuesday issued a temporary restraining order allowing protesters to return to Zuccotti Park only hours after police forcibly removed them, arresting dozens.

The order by Justice Lucy Billings set a hearing date for Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. and said that until the matter was considered at that hearing, the city and Brookfield Properties, the owners of Zuccotti Park, would be prohibited from evicting protesters or “enforcing ‘rules’ published after the occupation began or otherwise preventing protesters from re-entering the park with tents and other property previously utilized.”

It was not immediately clear what effect the order would have on the protesters meeting in nearby Foley Square. Some had advocated returning to the park.

There is talk now of the protesters returning to re-take Zuccotti Park. This Thursday marks two months since the “occupation” of Wall Street began in the park.