With visits to the protest areas by NY City Mayor Michael Bloomberg earlier this week, it was announced that the protestors would be evicted and the Park would be cleared and cleaned. Thereafter, the demonstrators would be allowed back in under a new set of rules set up by the Park’s owner, Brookfield Properties. The rules dictated no sleeping materials, tents or other make-shift items that would allow or afford the crowds any minimal comforts.
An immediate call went out and a petition was circulated by MoveOn.org among the protesters and those who supported them and their First Amendment rights to continue the protest. The signatures gathered were set to be delivered to the Mayor on Friday before the planned eviction.
As reported by the NY Times, late Thursday afternoon protestors in mass armed with brooms and trash bags began cleaning the area in an attempt to persuade Brookfield to withdraw its demand to clear out before the Friday deadline. The parties appeared to have reached a stalemate in negotiations with Brookfield complaining that the doorways and walkways were being blocked and that while they were willing to allow the protestors to return, the new rules would be enforced. The protestors continued to hold out hope that their effort to clean the area would mollify Brookfield and allow the demonstration to continue.
The protesters were getting ready for a battle come early Friday morning. According to a NY Times article posted in the early a.m. Friday morning, Police Commissioner Kelly was still standing by his former position that the protesters would have to remove their belongings in three shifts beginning at 7 a.m.
People will have to remove all their belongings and leave the park, Kelly said.
He went on to add:
After it’s cleaned, they’ll be able to come back. But they won’t be able to bring back the gear, the sleeping bags. That sort of thing will not be able to be brought back into the park.
Several protestors sent out word that they were digging in for a confrontation with the City and would not be complying with the eviction orders. Organizer Patrick Bruner stated:
We won’t allow [Mayor] Bloomberg and the NYPD to foreclose our occupation. This is an occupation, not a permitted picnic.
This morning, at approximately 6:30 est, CNN, in a breaking news story, reported that Mayor Bloomberg along with Brookfield had announced that the eviction will be delayed, leaving the protestors free, for the moment, to continue their fight by lawfully demonstrating and occupying Wall Street. Wall Street is alive with cheers this early Friday morning.