The future of the occupation of Lower Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park is up in the air after New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has ordered protesters to prepare to vacate the area so that sanitation workers can clean up the premises.
Last night Michael Bloomberg visited the site in New York’s financial district that has been the main hub for the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators since they first began protesting four weeks ago. As thousands from across the world continue to congregate in the private Manhattan park, Bloomberg and other Big Apple bigwigs have decided that the area needs a nice cleaning before protests can continue.
In a statement released Wednesday, Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway says that the protests have “created unsanitary conditions and considerable wear and tear on the park.” As a result, the park’s owners have asked the New York Police Department to begin clearing out the park for sanitation workers or a clean-up that is believed to begin on early Friday.
As protesters predict that the move is an attempt to oust the demonstrators from the park, Bloomberg reassured participants yesterday that they will be able to return following the clean-up, assuming that they abide by the parks rules. Should the NYPD begin enforcing the officials rules of Zuccotti Park, however, protesters would be prohibited from using tarp and sleeping bags and even from laying down on the ground, a step that could cripple the movement.
“I’m hoping that they’re not trying to undermine their ability to protest,” Allison Esso of Human Services Council, a group that has supported the Occupy Wall Street movement, tells The Associated Press. Another demonstrator adds to CBS News, “I think the mayor and some of his ‘clonies’ are trying to use tactics to get us to move out of the park.”
In response to the planned pick-up in Zuccotti Park, protesters have already begun plotting a sweep of the park themselves. A declaration released following the mayor’s orders asks all campers in Zuccotti Park to ask friends and family for brooms, mops, garbage bags and other cleaning supplies so that they could take the matter into their own hands. A “full-camp cleanup session” is slated to begin this afternoon.
With the NYPD perhaps providing support for the city’s own sanitation workers to come in to clean up the park the next morning, protesters are prepared to keep the city from squashing their movement. According to the statement issued from Occupy Wall Street organizers, “Friday morning, we’ll awake and position ourselves with our brooms and mops in a human chain around the park, linked at the arms. If NYPD attempts to enter, we’ll peacefully/non-violently stand our ground and those who are willing will get arrested.”
“Afterwards,” they add, “we’ll march with brooms and mops to Wall Street to do a massive #wallstcleanup march, where the real mess is!”
Even with continuing demonstrations in New York being put in jeopardy, the Occupy movement is gaining momentum across the country and the globe. North of the border protests are being planned for this weekend in both Toronto, Ontario and Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.