Park, sweet park. Occupy Wall Street protesters flooded into their former dwelling space at Zuccotti Park Tuesday night after police removed the metal barricades that had blocked their entrance since a police raid in November, the Associated Press reported.
Some of the protesters began to gather in circles and read, others climbed atop the barricades holding signs, several people wielded American flags, and the official Occupy Wall Street Twitter account issued a call for artists to reoccupy the park.
“Word spread pretty quickly, and we ran down here,” demonstrator Lauren DiGioia told the Associated Press. “It's hard to remember what it was like before the barricades were put up.”
Police spokesman Paul Brown said the barricades came down because officials felt they were no longer necessary. However, the decision came just two days after the New York Civil Liberties Union called the barricades a “violation of city zoning laws.” The organization had taken its complaint to the New York City Department of Buildings, saying it was illegal to restrict public access to the park.
Donna Lieberman, the group’s executive director, told the AP she hoped Zuccotti Park could now “resume its rightful place as a center for meeting and protest” in the city.
While protesters are free to meet and protest in the park, rules that prohibit camping or sleeping within its boundaries remain the same. Some of first Occupiers back at the campsite have already tested that notion by lying down on the ground. Three were arrested for doing so, CBS News New York reports.
NYPD reportedly told protesters they could not sit down within the park.
Watch video as protesters reclaim the park: