What the canceled clean-up involved

The October 14 Wall Street Journal clearly explained, as yesterday’s New York Post and New York Times failed to explain, what exactly the city was planning to do on Friday morning, until Richard Clark of Brookfield Properties late on Thursday night called off the action out of fear of a violent confrontation:

New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the department was prepared to “make sure the peace is maintained” when Brookfield attempts to remove protesters and clean the park in three sections with power-washers.

Brookfield and the city say the privately owned park has become unsanitary after nearly four weeks of occupation by hundreds of anti-corporate protesters.

Mr. Kelly said the demonstrators would be allowed to return after the cleaning but can’t bring beds, tarps and other prohibited items—terms the protesters said would effectively end their occupation.

So there it is: the removal that was contemplated was not (contrary to what I earlier suggested) temporary and meaningless. The protesters do not have the right simply to camp out indefinitely in the park. The city has the authority to ban beds, tarps, easy chairs (of which I saw several in the park yesterday) and other items that make a long-term round-the-clock occupation possible. The action initially requested by Brookfield and planned by the police would have ended the demo as it has existed up to this point. The protesters, knowing this, would have resisted their temporary removal from the park for clean-up purposes, and this would have led to a violent confrontation with resisting protesters being hurt by the police, which many politicians and Brookfield’s CEO feared.

Bottom line: the occupation can be legally ended, when the will exists to end it. And the occupation could have been ended at any time from the very start.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at October 16, 2011 01:58 PM | Send

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