NEW YORK, NY – At 1 a.m. this morning, Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered police officers to forcibly remove protesters from Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan. The park had been the birthplace of the now global Occupy movement.
After initially resisting, the protesters, who had been sleeping in the park overnight, chanted “Whose park? Our park!” Many then departed while a core remained and were forcibly removed by the NYPD. Police commissioner Ray Kelly oversaw the highly coordinated operation. By this morning, the encampment was cleared, the park was cleaned, and 70 had been arrested.
Mayor Bloomberg said that the park was cleared out of public safety and health concerns. Protestors will be allowed to return to the park today, but will not be permitted to bring tents or sleeping bags with them.
The clearing of Zuccotti Park follows a similar action by the Oakland Police department on Monday when 33 protesters were arrested after a police raid on the encampment. Police say they took action in order to protect the safety of protesters, after a man was fatally shot in Oakland protests last Thursday.
WEIGH IN: Was the decision to shut down OWS in New York and Oakland the right one?
Is the clearing of the protests a violation of freedom of speech and the right to assembly, or is it a proper city governmental response to increasing safety concerns?
More on Oakland:
Photo Credit: david_shankbone.