Photo: Lucy Kafanov
Hours after Zuccotti Park was cleared out, Mayor Bloomberg held a press conference to explain the city’s position.In a nutshell, it’s this: Zuccotti Park protesters have the right to free speech, but they don’t have the right to limit the speech of others. In this case by “speech” he actually means actions or movement. Basically, the protesters were making it impossible for others to use the park, and that’s not fair.
He admitted that the majority of protesters were peaceful and orderly outside the park, but inside the park was a health hazard.
“I don’t feel bad,” said the Mayor. “We have to distinguish what we’re trying to do and what happened in other places…we’re letting them back into the park (without sleeping bags/tents)”…but he added that the city would not tolerate the park being blocked to others.
The Mayor took questions, and he gave the most telling answer when reporters asked him about the order protesters got from a Judge saying that they could return to the park with their gear.
Hizzoner said that officials had planned to let protesters back in at 8:00 AM, they even let about 50 people back in. But when they got wind of the Court order, they asked the people to leave and blocked off the park again.
“We haven’t seen the order,” he said … “if it even exists.”
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