Occupy Wall Street: Zuccotti Park Cleared (Photos, Video)
Police Evict Occupy Wall Street Protesters from Zuccotti Park
The NYPD cleared Zuccotti Park on November 15, 2011. Mayor Michale Bloomberg said that the decision was his alone, though Brookfield Properties, which owns Zuccotti Park, has been preventing the city from reopening the park.
Protesters had been camping in Zuccotti Park for two months. While Zuccotti Park is private property, it is treated as public space. Time will tell if Bloomberg chose this battle wisely or not.
The NYPD cleared Zuccotti Park at 1am local time in order to minimize visibility in the press, hoping to either catch the media off guard or simply chase reporters away. 70 protesters were arrested.
Bloomberg added, somewhat ominously, "no right is absolute." That sort of statement is above his station, though: he's only a mayor, and thus has control over New York City. The First Amendment goes a bit higher than that.
The city also does not really have control of Zuccotti Park: Brookfield has been retooling the park rules to make protests less tenable, and has apparently filed a restraining order against the City of New York to prevent the park from reopening to the public.
Update: the restraining order was actually filed by lawyers representing OWS. A judge is set to rule on whether or not the protesters can return with their tents.
Cheeky, considering Zuccotti Park exists to allow zoning exemptions for the owners of 1 Liberty Plaza.
Meanwhile, protesters remain near Zuccotti Park, as well as other downtown open spaces such as Duarte Square.
While not getting much press in North America, similar protests in Israel actually saw results: after several months of seeing protesters camped out in places like Tel Aviv's Rothschild Blvd, the government found itself forced to retool the tax code.