Photo: Robert Johnson — Business Insider
Expecting to see outraged business owners raging against Occupy offenses, more than a dozen press members were greeted by this woman Monday night on the steps of City Hall.Wearing a mask and refusing to give her name, she confessed to “organising” the protest by talking to “media outlets” and getting her intentions published on their newsite.
It seemed everyone there had seen the post and protest announcement on Fox.
Only a handful of business owners showed up, and members of the press were not pleased when the women unrolled a piece of paper with NY Post articles on the Occupiers and said, “I read the New York Post…” and began her tirade.
For the first several minutes of the press conference, the only person advocating for the rights of business owners wasn’t even a business owner. She identified herself as an unemployed teacher who lives in lower Manhattan and “feels for [businesses].”
“People down there are actually losing jobs, because the businesses are losing. I mean, if you read The Post today, they’re losing half a million dollars down there. When I see that they’re being fed five course meals and I’m eating a can of tuna with a bagel, it pisses me off. It really angers me, because, to me, they’re the devil face.”
She added: “I don’t support rape. People being raped in the park. I don’t support people like that.”
The unidentified organiser of the anti-Occupy protest wore a white mask and said she was concerned about her safety.
Elio Garcia, owner of Essex World Cafe on Liberty Street, thinks a lot of businesses didn’t show up Monday night because “maybe they’re scared.”
Jeremy Madden, a financial adviser who volunteers as a security guard at night for Panini & Co. on Broadway, said he came to the press conference to voice his displeasure with the mayor:
“What the mayor has done is on the verge of treason. These are people that stayed here after 9/11.. who’s paid the mayor’s salary. For them to have their businesses treated like this is absolutely absurd. These are hardworking people. [The protesters] are drug-addicted, complete losers.”
Mark Epstein, owner of Milk Street Cafe on Wall Street, said his business has suffered so much that he’s had to lay off 20 people because “nobody’s walking down Wall Street anymore, especially later in the day.”
A manager at Ho Yip Chinese Restaurant on Broadway said a protester “pissed in front of the restaurant” after he was denied usage of the restaurant’s facility.
“We’re losing a lot of business because due to all the police having to protect them, we can’t get around delivery-wise and all the customers, they don’t want to walk around the group just to get to our restaurant now,” he said.
But members from Occupy who were present said they’ve conducted surveys in the surrounding area and the results showed “60% [of businesses] describe the relationship with the protesters as ‘very’ or ‘somewhat collaborative’ “
Despite a lack of support, the press conference struck a nerve with the mayor. Around 1 a.m. on Tuesday morning — merely hours after the City Hall protest — NYPD and Brookfield Office Properties notified Occupy protesters that they had to vacate Zuccotti Park immediately for a clean-up.
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