New York City Mayor Bloomberg has asked the Wall Street Protesters to leave their encampment at Zuccotti Park in the financial district by Friday. Though the park is open to the public, it’s privately owned, and its landlords have asked the city to assist in clearing the park so that it may be cleaned.
Capital New York reports that the owners of the park, Brookfield Office Properties, wrote a two-page letter to NYPD Comissioner Ray Kelly regarding the “health and public safety issue that must be addressed immediately.”
According to the letter signed by Brookfield CEO Richard B Clark, one of the concerns is that if the park’s “underground lighting” system is “cracked, water could infiltrate the electrical system, putting occupants of the Park at risk of an electrical hazard.”
The company wants to clean the park of trash and debris and wrote, “we are again requesting the assistance of the New York City Police Department to help clear the Park so that we can undertake work at the earliest possible time.”
This sets the stage for Friday as a big showdown between NYPD and the protesters.
For their part, the protesters are asking for brooms to be donated so that they can clean up the park themselves today and tomorrow. Then, on Friday, they will form a human wall around the park and try to prevent the NYPD from entering.
I predict that the protesters will clean up the park, some will go back home, some will continue the protesting from other points around the city, and everyone in that human wall on Friday will be arrested.
The New York Post reports that the park’s owners say the protesters aren’t being permanently kicked out. They told the paper that “the cleaning will be done in stages and the protesters will be able to return to the areas that have been cleaned, provided they abide by the rules.”
One of the rules prohibits overnight camping. The rule against camping was only added after the protests began.