Occupy Wall Street Protestors Continue On as Park Clean Up Postponed

Oct 14, 2011, 08:25 by R.E. Christian

A cleanup of the New York park where Occupy Wall Street protesters are gathered was postponed Friday to the cheers of participants in the movement.

The development headed off a possible confrontation with police.

Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway said Brookfield Properties, owner of the park that is considered ground zero for the protest, postponed the scheduled cleaning and withdrew a request for police assistance, the New York Daily News reported.

Protesters had formed a human chain around the park, defying police who vowed to remove them.

"Our position has been consistent throughout: The city's role is to protect public health and safety, to enforce the law, and guarantee the rights of all New Yorkers," Holloway said in a statement. "Brookfield believes they can work out an arrangement with the protesters that will ensure the park remains clean, safe, available for public use and that the situation is respectful of residents and businesses downtown, and we will continue to monitor the situation."

Brookfield owns the 33,000-square-foot plaza, which takes up a city block near Wall Street. Under a zoning deal made with the city years ago, Brookfield agreed to keep it open to the public 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The protest began Sept. 17 with a small group of activists and swelled to thousands of people in protests across the country. Activists who were originally mostly young people now include white-collar workers, labor unions, veterans and spiritual leaders.

The protesters across the country say they are demonstrating against the richest 1 percent of the population, who hold 35.6 percent of the country's wealth, and against what the protesters say is Wall Street greed that contributed to the global economic crisis that has caused social and economic pain to all but the wealthiest people.

Jim Behrle, 38, a Brooklyn resident who's been at the park for three days, called the news of the postponement a "victory for the 99 percent."

"I'm glad no one is going to get hurt; this is a peaceful protest," Behrle told the Daily News. "I think it shows the unity of the movement. It was a good night."

He said he thought the cleanup he and other protesters did in the park made a difference.

"I think it showed people can keep this spot clean; we're certainly willing to do it on our own," Behrle said.

In Denver, the Colorado State Patrol said it was satisfied with the progress to clear Veterans Park, site of a similar protest, The Denver Post reported.

Because cleanup work was expected to take several hours, Gov. John Hickenlooper issued an executive order to close Veterans Park until further notice.

"We appreciate the cooperation of those individuals who chose to exit the park prior to 11 p.m.," Col. James Wolfinbarger, chief of the state patrol, said in a statement. "The CSP has not made any arrests and will continue to monitor the park during the cleanup operation."

Orders to vacate also were announced Thursday in San Diego.

San Diego police told Occupy San Diego protesters to pack up their gear and vacate the Civic Center concourse before midnight, or their property could be impounded and they could be arrested, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

The newspaper said the order was related to a scheduled Friday rehearsal at the concourse by a dance troupe.

Source: UPI