Thursday, October 13, 2011

Confrontation Looms At Zuccotti Park Over Need To Clean Park

Brookfield Properties, which owns the land on which Zuccotti Park is located, wants to get in and clean the property (power washing to eliminate grime and remove trash and other debris from more than three weeks from protests). Mayor Mike Bloomberg came by the park yesterday afternoon to promise that the cleanup would proceed and wouldn't involve a permanent removal of the protests. The mayor's office released a statement formally ordering the protesters to cooperate with the sanitation workers and that the work will proceed in stages.

That follows a letter submitted by Brookfield Properties to NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly:

Brookfield's Letter to NYPD asking to "clear" Zuccotti Park of Occupy Wall Street protesters

OWS organizers aren't buying the claims and say that they will clean the park themselves
Their declaration reads:
On Wednesday/Thursday, all campers/supporters should reach out to friends/family/anyone to donate or purchase brooms, mops, squeegees, dust pans, garbage bags, power washers and any other cleaning supplies to be collected at sanitation. The sanitation committee should move full-speed ahead on purchase of bins allocated by consensus at GA.

After General Assembly on Thursday, we'll have a full-camp cleanup session. Sanitation can coordinate, and anyone who is available will help with the massive community effort! Then, Friday morning, we'll awake and position ourselves with our brooms and mops in a human chain around the park, linked at the arms. If NYPD attempts to enter, we'll peacefully/non-violently stand our ground and those who are willing will get arrested.

Afterwards, we'll march with brooms and mops to Wall Street to do a massive #wallstcleanup march, where the real mess is!
I doubt that Brookfield would go along with that, considering that they want to make sure that the park's electrical systems and other infrastructure is maintained. Brookfield has been more than gracious as allowing the protesters to occupy the space, but the protesters need to show their hosts some latitude as well.

On today's agenda for celebrities showing up at the park: Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine.

I just got back from a quick scouting of Zuccotti Park. Things were somewhat more subdued through most of the park, but Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine had a good sized crowd (couple hundred from the looks of it) surrounding him near the sculpture at the corner of Liberty and Broadway. There was a group of percussionists at the other end of the park for a time and some of the protesters appeared to be making an effort to tidy things up with brooms. New signs of note were about how they were going to spend the day cleaning up around the park and tomorrow they'd clean up Wall Street.

A lot of the paper signs were under tarps with all the rain overnight and showers expected through to the weekend. It's certainly put a bit of a damper on things.

The Brookfield Properties cleanup hasn't started, but individual protesters were tidying up and moving tarps and sweeping up some areas of the park.

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