Occupy Wall Street protesters are preparing for a showdown with authorities who are ordering them to vacate the park they’ve been occupying since September 17.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the protesters have to vacate Zuccotti Park by Friday in order for it be cleaned up.
He also said that they are welcome to return once the cleaning is done.
However, Brookfield Office Management, the company that owns the park, issued new guidelines prohibiting tents, tarps and sleeping bags in the park.
But Occupy Wall Street protesters say they will not move, according to CNN.
Tyler Combelic called the mayor’s announcement a “not-so-veiled attempt” to force the protesters from the park, setting up a possible confrontation with authorities.
“We have decided that at 7 o’clock tomorrow, we will not leave the park,” he said, adding that “we are not opposed to cleaning it ourselves.”
The National Lawyers Guild sent a letter to Brookfield stating that evicting the protesters would be a violation of their First Amendment rights.
The showdown comes a day before a planned global demonstration that will include protests in 869 cities in more than 71 countries throughout the world.
Meanwhile, Reporters Without Borders issued a statement Thursday condemning the arrests of journalists and photographers covering the demonstrations.
Many journalists have found themselves being prevented from covering the movement’s activities ever since it began on 17 September. Ordinary citizens, bloggers and netizens who provide information through online social networks have also been affected by this obstruction. More seriously, the New York Police Department treats a person as a journalist only if they have a press card that the NYPD itself issues according to its own criteria.
“Since when is a police department equipped to determine who is and who is not a journalist?” Reporters Without Borders said. “Such restrictions can be used to block news and information of public interest, whether it is reported by the participants themselves or by professional journalists who are there just to do their job. This NYPD filtering violates the most elementary constitutional guarantees.”
Reporters Without Borders also condemns the constant use by the police of the charges of “disorderly conduct” and “failure to disperse.”
A Fox5 TV crew was attacked by police while covering an Occupy Wall Street demonstration in New York on 5 October. Cameraman Roy Isen received pepper spray in his eyes while reporter Dick Brennan was hit in the stomach by a police baton. A police statement said the two journalists were “inadvertently” struck when police resisted a charge by protesters.
Natasha Lennard, a freelance journalist and contributor to a New York Times blog, was held for five hours in a police truck on 1 October because she did not have an NYPD press card. She was arrested along with 700 people during the Occupy Wall Street march across the Brooklyn Bridge. Kristen Gwynne of the AlterNet web-magazine suffered the same fate at the same place on the same day.
John Farley, a journalist with the magazine MetroFocus, was arrested while covering an Occupy Wall Street demonstration in New York on 24 September despite wearing a badge identifying him as a reporter. He was held for eight hours.
On Tuesday, Boston police arrested more than 100 protesters who had been occupying a park since September 30.
Before moving into the park to make their arrests, police ordered journalists to leave and forbade them from recording the arrests, according to Think Progress.
Before the arrests and clearing of the park, the police surrounded it, lining up over a dozen paddy wagons along one side. They told members of the media to leave and not to film proceedings. After a five-minute warning to disperse, police moved in, first arresting the peacefully protesting veterans — who included a female veteran of the Iraq War, according to the Boston Phoenix — and then other Occupy Boston activists. According to Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis, about 100 arrests were made.
At least one journalist who refused to leave the area ended up arrested.
The Occupy Wall Street protests camping out at Zuccotti Park are planning an early morning protest at 6 a.m. Friday against the cleanup and new regulations.
Police will be on hand to ensure the protesters vacate the park by 7 a.m.
I just received an email from Patrick Bruner, who handles media relations for the Occupy Wall Street protest, stating that local unions appear to be preparing to join them in demonstration against the eviction.
There is an emergency press conference at Occupy Wall Street at 6pm tonight being called by the Working Families Party, the Strong Economy for All Coalition, United NY, and New York Communities for Change.
This press conference is in response to Mayor Bloomberg’s plan to evict protesters from the park at 7am tomorrow morning for cleaning.