Occupy Wall Street protesters return to Zuccotti Park without tents
NEW YORK The Occupy Wall Street protesters began to re occupy Zuccotti Park Tuesday night minus their tents and sleeping bags after a tumultuous day that began with a police raid and ended with a controversial court ruling.
Police allowed hundreds of cheering protesters back into the park in a single file line just after dark, restricting each person to one small bag. Minutes earlier, word trickled through the crowd that a state Supreme Court judge had ruled protesters didn have a First Amendment right to set up tents to sleep in the plaza.
As they crossed police barricades to return to the newly cleaned park, some questioned the future of the 2 month old movement. But others said the emotional day of victories and defeats had reinvigorated the Occupy Wall Street faithful. Myerson, 25, of Manhattan. “But this movement is nothing if not imaginative. when hundreds of police officers with batons and plastic shields flooded the park and began clearing out protesters. Most left voluntarily, but nearly 200 people were arrested, including some who linked arms and refused to leave, police said.
The protesters tents and sleeping bags were taken to a sanitation department facility as workers used power washers to clean the plaza.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said it was his decision to order the early morning crackdown because health and safety conditions had become “intolerable” in the crowded plaza. The raid was done at night “to reduce the risk of confrontation in the park, and to minimize disruption to the surrounding neighborhood,” Bloomberg said.
The New York crackdown seemed to be part of a nationwide movem Air Max ent to quell similar protests in other cities. Police raided camps in Portland, Ore., on Sunday and Oakland, Calif., on Monday.
Some protesters said the police raids were helping bring new attention to their anti Wall Street message.
“I think that more people are going to become aware of the movement because of what happened here today,” said Jenny Molina, 31, a Queens resident marching with the New York protesters.
The Occupy Wall Street protesters spent much of the day marching around lower Manhattan, trailed by reporters, camera crews and helicopters. Several journalists were arrested while protesters skirmished with police after trying to move into an empty lot near the Trinity Wall Street church.
Others were arrested attempting to jump the barricades surrounding Zuccotti Park before it was reopened. New York City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, a supporter of the movement, was among those arrested outside the park earlier in the day.
Meanwhile, lawyers representing the protesters spent the day in court arguing the group had a right to camp in Zuccotti Park. The plaza, near Ground Zero, is a public space, but privately owned.
In his ruling, Supreme Court Justice Michael Stallman said the protesters “have not demonstrated that they have a First Amendment right to remain in Zuccotti Park, along with th Air Max eir tents, structures, generators and other installations to the exclusion of the owner reasonable rights . or to the rights to public access of others who might wish to use the space safely.”
Chuck Helms, a retired telephone worker from Nutley, was among the supporters who traveled to Manhattan to join the protesters as they waited to get back into the park.
“America kids are hurting and it hurt me to see them hurting,” said Helms, 64. “The actual occ Air Max upation may fail but the state of mind won Newark, meanwhile, about 20 people gathered in Military Park on Broad Street last night to finalize plans for their own protest. The group said they will gather tents and tarps to camp out in the Newark park beginning Friday.
The loose knit group of university students, teachers and Newark residents said they have been preparing for a weekend takeover of Military Park for three weeks. The protesters have already received donations of Air Max 50 cots and a generator, according to their website.
Isaiah Malik Martin, 21, said he found out about the Newark protest after picking up a flier on the street. He plans to camp out, even if the occupation of Military Park violates Newark curfew laws.