Protesters return, but fewer in number, to NY park

Last Updated: Thursday, November 17, 2011 - 09:09

New York: A couple dozen demonstrators
resumed their Occupy Wall Street protest Thursday in New York`s Zuccotti Park, a day after the movement`s weeks-long vigil
against corporate greed was scattered by police.

One demonstrator said that three people were arrested
overnight for lying down, in violation of newly-enforced rules
that also prohibited sleeping bags and camping gear in the
park.

Of those who were in the park, one man slept with his
head on a granite table, while another dozed on a bench.
Police also arrested one demonstrator early today who was
involved in a scuffle.

For two months, Lower Manhattan`s Zuccotti Park had been
home to a makeshift tent village that was the symbolic
epicenter of a movement that has inspired similar protests in
other US cities and abroad.

But police early yesterday cleared the park and arrested
about 200 of its occupants in a surprise pre-dawn operation,
leaving cleaning crews to cart off piles of tents and other
gear before scrubbing the square clean.

Later in the day, a judge ruled that while owners of the
park and the authorities could not deny protesters their
constitutional right to freedom of speech by banning entry to
park, the protesters must abide by a ban on camping out there.

"Zuccotti Park will remain open to all who want to enjoy
it, as long as they abide by the park`s rules," Mayor Michael
Bloomberg said in a statement after the court decision.

Protesters were allowed to begin returning late
yesterday, but the handful who spent the night were deprived
the comfort of sleeping bags after the city began enforcing
the park`s no-camping prohibition.=

Still, protesters were elated at being allowed back into
the Manhattan park, owned by Brookfield Properties, which they
have been occupying since mid-September.=

Officers let the protesters back in one-by-one at a
newly-created checkpoint.

"No one will be denied entry," a police officer said at
the gate, as people began to wander back in again.

Bloomberg said the judge`s ruling "vindicates our
position that First Amendment rights do not include the right
to endanger the public or infringe on the rights of others by
taking over a public space with tents and tarps."

Demonstrator Dallas Carter, 32, said the protesters "have
to go back to court to get the tents and sleeping bags again.
But it`s still a victory."

"The police don`t have too much choice," said another
activist, Mike Reilly, 28, from Philadelphia.

"The movement will survive in one way or another." another."

PTI



First Published: Thursday, November 17, 2011 - 09:09

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