Signs are strong that Mayor Bloomberg is finally trying to evict the Occupy Wall Street protesters from Zuccotti Park under the ruse of a thorough park cleaning.
As Matt Browner Hamlin reports on the AmericaBlog, Bloomberg and Brookfield, which owns the formerly public park, are asking protesters to vacate Zuccotti Plaza in stages tomorrow, Friday, so the park can be cleaned. The problem is that after the cleaning, strong new restrictions about what would and would not be allowed back into the plaza after the cleaning would prevail with sleeping bags, tents and even lying down within Zuccotti Park banned.
“People will have to remove all their belongings and leave the park,” Police Commissioner Ray Kelly told the New York Post, “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.”
Driving protesters out of public spaces as a way to break long-running protests is a common tactic. It happened in Madison, Wisconsin, during the occupation of the capitol; it was done to los indignados in Madrid; it was even done in New York City earlier this year, when activists had set up a Bloombergville tent city.
If you’re in NYC, call 311 and implore Mayor Bloomberg not to interfere with Occupy Wall Street. If you live outside the city, call Bloomberg at 212-NEW-YORK (212-639-9675) now and tell him: “Respect the First Amendment. Don’t evict Occupy Wall Street.” Also call Brookfield Properties CEO Ric Clark at 212-417-7000 to tell him that you don’t appreciate his company interfering in the Free Speech rights of American citizens. MoveOn.org is also circulating an emergency petition in defense of the protesters and their First Amendment rights to remain in Zuccotti Park. Finally, if you’re able, the movement has asked all sympathizers to come to Zuccotti Park tomorrow morning at 6 :00am to stand with the protesters. The only way that Mayor Bloomberg will change his plan is massive public pressure. Act now!