NEW YORK — Hours after New York officials raided
Zuccotti Park, emptying it of the nation’s first Occupy Wall Street
protest camp, a New York judge ruled in favor of the city and said that
protesters may not return to the area with their tents.
ruling was handed down by State Supreme Court Justice Michael Stallman.
The judge held that the city could indeed block protesters from
returning to their full-time protest, which included tents and
generators, and that the public should be able to use the site.
Tuesday, police in riot gear had cleared the park, the spiritual home
of the Occupy movement that brought a populist message into the
political arena. Within weeks of that camp’s creation, dozens of U.S.
cities had their own encampments, each loosely based on the idea that
the richest 1 percent of the nation should do more to help the other 99
percent deal with debt, lack of jobs and a poor economy.
200 people were arrested in the New York raid, charged with disorderly
conduct. Some were also charged with resisting arrest. The tents and
sleeping bags that had been the props to thousands of photographs over
the weeks were hauled away to a city garage facility.
represented by the National Lawyers Guild, had asked the New York court
to rule that the city acted illegally when it evicted hundreds of
demonstrators from the area, also known as Liberty Park.
is a situation the city created,” Gideon Oliver, the lawyer for the
protesters, said outside the court after a hearing. “The city came in
like storm troopers in the middle of the night and indiscriminately
arrested anyone who could bear witness to what happened.”
its court papers, the city argued that the area had become “a public
safety hazard,” saying it was unhealthy and unsafe and prevented the
general public from using the space. The city was backed by Brookfield
Properties, which owns the park and allows general use.
a morning news conference, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that
the city had planned to reopen the park after the raid and after the
area was cleaned.
“The law that created Zuccotti
Park required that it be open for the public to enjoy for passive
recreation 24 hours a day,” Bloomberg said in a statement. “Ever since
the occupation began, that law has not been complied with” because the
protesters had taken over the park, “making it unavailable to anyone
“I have become increasingly concerned — as
had the park’s owner, Brookfield Properties — that the occupation was
coming to pose a health and fire safety hazard to the protesters and to
the surrounding community,” Bloomberg said.
In a statement, Brookfield praised the city for its actions.
©2011 the Los Angeles Times
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