New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg says he won’t force Occupy Wall Street protesters out of Lower Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park.
But a plan to clean the park and to establish new rules for people gathered there has everyone worried.
The New York Times reports that an emerging consensus among people on the ground is that “if the protesters cleaned up their own sleeping bags and tarps and pieces of cardboard and made the park better than new, the city and the park’s owners, Brookfield Properties, might relent and let them stay.”
Some of the city’s savviest political activists are working to tip the balance in favor of maintaining the occupation at the centrally located Zuccotti Park.
The Working Families Party, New York’s labor-backed political party, is moving fast to organize a response that assures Occupy Wall Street is not evicted.
Step One: Call Mayor Bloomberg at: 212.639.9675.
In an urgent message to WFP backers, party executive director Dan Cantor explains why that’s important, and what else activists can do.
Cantor, a veteran organizer with strong ties to the city’s labor and political leaders, writes:
Dear Friends: Just a few days ago, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced to the world that the protesters at Occupy Wall Street could stay as long as they wanted. But now, it sounds like he could be changing his mind.
According to his office, Zuccotti Park is set to be emptied of protesters and cleaned starting TOMORROW. In theory the protesters will be allowed back in, but there’s a catch — there will be a new set of rules, including no lying down and no sleeping bags. It seems clear to us these rules are designed to end any ongoing occupation of the park.
The Occupy Wall Street sanitation committee has begged the administration and anyone in earshot for dumpsters, but the City has ignored them. Instead, officials are using the excuse of cleaning the park as a back-door attempt to get protesters out of the park and put an early end to the Occupy Wall Street movement.
For us to succeed in helping the protesters stand their ground, please do these two things:
1) Show up tomorrow morning at 6 am when the sanitation crews arrive to Zuccotti Park.
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2) Call Mayor Bloomberg right now and demand that the protesters be allowed to stay. Here’s a link to his phone number and a script. Be sure to tell us if you got through.
The Occupy Wall Street movement is still growing, and the protestors have proven, through creativity, determination, good humor and a commitment to nonviolence, that they deserve to be heard. They’re sparking the imaginations of people across the nation and around the world.
But Michael Bloomberg, a powerful mayor and also, not coincidentally, the richest man in New York, is undoubtedly more comfortable among the 1%. No doubt, the CEOs and hedge funders who have the mayor’s ear would like nothing more than to shut down this nascent movement.
Fundamentally, we believe in the rights of Americans to assemble peacefully, to speak, and to petition for redress. What is happening in Zuccotti Park is the First Amendment in action. Bloomberg said he believes in the same thing.
If that’s true, he must show that commitment to the First Amendment by negotiating with the protesters to keep the area clean, without imposing unreasonable restrictions that would end the protest altogether. Bloomberg must allow the protesters to stay for as long as their message needs to be heard.
Remember to do your two things: call Mayor Bloomberg and join us tomorrow!
Click here for the phone number and to RSVP for tomorrow:
Executive Director, WFP