Early Tuesday morning, police moved in on Zuccotti Park and cleared out protesters, citing health concerns. The New York Police Department estimated that about 70 people were arrested. The protesters, who eventually were all cleared out and replaced with sanitation workers scrubbing down the park, then moved — en masse and drums in hands — to Foley Square, a 15 minute walk northeast.
Protesters were told that once the park is clean, they can return to Zuccotti Park — just without the sleeping bags, tarps, or tents. Mayor Michael Bloomberg issued a statement explaining his actions, saying that the park had become a health and fire hazard and that, “inaction was not an option.” He pointed to an EMT who was injured last week after protesters tried to stop him from helping a, “mentally ill man who was menacing others.”
“At one o’clock this morning, the New York City Police Department and the owners of Zuccotti Park notified protesters in the park that they had to immediately remove tents, sleeping bags and other belongings, and must follow the park rules if they wished to continue to use it to protest. Many protesters peacefully complied and left. At Brookfield’s request, members of the NYPD and Sanitation Department assisted in removing any remaining tents and sleeping bags. This action was taken at this time of day to reduce the risk of confrontation in the park, and to minimize disruption to the surrounding neighborhood.”
Mayor Bloomberg will hold a press conference after 8 a.m., and will presumably address OWS-sparked rumors that news helicopters were grounded by NYPD (the juiciest of many rumors) and weren’t allowed to document the raid. Occupy Wall Street has called for a rally at 9 a.m. on Canal St. and 6th Avenue. Mediaite will supply updates as they become available. For now, enjoy videos below of the clearing out of Zuccotti Park, courtesy of La Repubblica and Zack Hample:
(Image credit: Newsday)
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