Bloomberg on Occupy Wall Street Zuccotti Raid: 'The Decision Was Mine and Mine Alone'
Mayor Bloomberg just held a press conference at City Hall to address last night's raid of Zuccotti Park. Bloomberg, accompanied by other city government top brass, said that the city had acted on Brookfield's request but that the decision to clear the park was "mine and mine alone." Bloomberg said that the the city aimed to avoid confrontation and "minimize destruction to the surrounding neighborhood." He barely addressed the treatment of protesters and the media blackout that prevented almost all press from covering the eviction from the inside.
A wrench was thrown in Bloomberg's argument, though, by the fact that the city has been served with a court order that will allow protesters back into the park temporarily.
Bloomberg said that the city aimed to guarantee public health and safety and the freedom of the protesters, but that "when those clash, the health and safety of the public and first responders must be a priority."
He brought up last week's injured EMT as an example of one of the straws that broke the camel's back and prompted the decision to evict the protesters.
As for the number of arrests total, Bloomberg put it at around 200.
With regard to the fact that multiple members of the press, even those with NYPD press credentials, were barred from covering the park: "The NYPD routinely keeps some members of the press off to the side during police actions," Bloomberg said, adding that police "provide protection" to press as well as civilians.
Though camping gear will no longer be tolerated at Zuccotti and Bloomberg said that the protesters "now will have to occupy the space with the power of the arguments," it's looking as though the total eviction isn't a done deal. OWS lawyers have served the city with an order to show cause and temporary restraining order requiring protesters to be allowed back in the park (the city closed it from the public during the eviction):
OWS restraining order (via @OccupyWallStNYC)
On a related note, the Voice has obtained a copy of an e-mail from Brookfield Properties to tenants of One Liberty Plaza informing them of the raid. They were told to stay in the building and that there was a situation of "civil unrest" in the park:
From: "Pereira, David" Date: November 15, 2011 2:01:50 AM GMT-05:00 To: "Pereira, David" Cc: "Fischetti, Michael" Subject: Zuccotti Park
ONE LIBERTY PLAZA
As you may be aware, a situation of civil unrest with protestors has arisen in Zuccotti Park and the surrounding area. The safety of our tenant community at One Liberty Plaza is a priority.
As of 1 am NYPD has begun removing protestors from the park. You may encounter delays getting to the building and surrounding areas. As a precautionary measure please use Cortlandt Street or Broadway entrance for access to the building.
We ask that you alert your employees of this situation and procedures which are being implemented effective immediately.
1. All entrances are being locked and manned by building security. Security will direct tenants with valid identification to entrances and exits based on safety assessments and consultation with NYPD.
2. The police will be notified of any suspicious activity or civil unrest in or around the building
3. Building management will maintain real-time open lines of communication to all tenants via the building public address system and email alerts to keep you informed.
4. If a disturbance should occur in the main lobby, elevator access to the first floor may be temporarily suspended. Building security or the NYPD will direct tenants on alternative methods to exit the building, if possible, in such an event.
We appreciate your cooperation and recommend that you alert your staff to exercise caution, report any incidents to the NYPD, 911, or building security (212) 417-7310, and follow all safety, security and building procedures.
Please contact building security at (212) 417-7352 if you have questions or concerns.
David Pereira, RPA Assistant Property Manager
Brookfield Office Properties U.S. Commercial Operations One Liberty Plaza 165 Broadway, Concourse Level, New York, NY 10006
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