Protesters Sweep Up Before Being Swept Out
As protest organizers and attorneys discussed whether to resist attempts to clear and clean the park they’ve occupied for nearly a month, participants in the Occupy Wall Street demonstration armed themselves with mops Thursday morning and started cleaning the area.
“We’re willing to help clean. We want what’s best for us and the community, that’s why we’re going to remain here,” said Faith Laugier, 33 years old. The East Harlem resident describes herself as a “full-time revolutionary.”
Brookfield Properties, the landlord of the privately owned Zuccotti Park, has notified protesters that crews will arrive at the park at 7 a.m. Friday for a planned cleanup. The company has said protesters will have to move for the cleanup, but that it would allow people back into certain areas of the park, provided they follow the rules, which prohibit lying on the ground, among other things.
Brookfield’s notice was read aloud at an emergency morning meeting, after which various members addressed the group. Some advocated for the cleaning efforts, while others said they should scout other privately-owned, public spaces to occupy. One protester announced “We need to take more parks,” and proposed a 24-hour occupation of Tompkins Square Park, located in the East Village as a trial run to test police reaction.
“We’re waiting on legal [advisers] to see what the ramifications are if we stay,” said Lily Gist, 24, and a student at School of Visual Arts. She said volunteers from the National Lawyers Guild would attend another emergency meeting at noon.
Emptying the park, which has formed the base of operations for protesters since mid-September, will take a good deal of work. In addition to temporary structures, the space has grown crowded with generators, storage bins, tables and computer supplies.
On Wednesday/Thursday, all campers/supporters should reach out to friends/family/anyone to donate or purchase brooms, mops, squeegees, dust pans, garbage bags, power washers and any other cleaning supplies to be collected at sanitation. The sanitation committee should move full-speed ahead on purchase of bins allocated by consensus at GA.
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!
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.
Afterwards, at 9am, we’ll march with brooms and mops to Wall Street to do a massive #wallstcleanup march, where the real mess is!
It won’t matter how much they clean, the owner’s representatives will still show up tomorrow and demand everyone leave. If the protesters don’t leave willingly the cops will arrest and/or evict everyone. Then they’ll bring in garbage trucks and haul everything away.
The only way to stop them is to get an injunction. I doubt that any judge will grant an injunction to squatters on private property when the owner asks them to leave temporarily so the place can be cleaned and inspected for routine maintenance.
Once they are out the city will keep a bunch of cops there to prevent the protestors from re-establishing their tent city. They’ll be allowed to come there every day to protest but they won’t be allowed to stay overnight. Other reasonable rules may be imposed as well.
If I was Chief Kelly I would blockade the park starting at 7 am to keep anyone from entering. Rather than move in right away I would see how long they can hold out without food or restrooms. Anyone who leaves won’t be allowed back in until the park is reopened.
Let them form a human chain and keep the cops there to see how long the protestors can maintain it. Then I’d wait until 5 pm to move in.
Nobody’s free speech rights will be interfered with, because they don’t have a right to occupy private property.
Tomorrow we’ll see if I’m right. I hope it’s televised so we can live-blog it.
(Glenn Beck had no input on this post)