This post has been updated. An earlier version incorrectly stated that city officials canceled the cleanup. Zuccotti Park is privately owned and decisions about its cleanup are made by Brookfield Properties.
Despite city officials announcing a planned cleanup of Zuccotti Park had been canceled, some violence bubbled up in lower Manhattan on Friday morning.
After the private owners granted the protesters reprieve from an order to leave the park, some protesters chose to march through the streets in celebration. Police asked protesters to stay on the sidewalk, but when they didn’t, a v-formation of police scooters drove through the crowd, running over one National Lawyers Guild observer.
CBS Local News station reports that violence broke out after the man went down. Police told CBS that the reaction was prompted by rioters throwing bottles and garbage at the officers. The police used night sticks and batons and about a dozen protesters were arrested. Other protesters ended the march and returned to Zuccotti Park.
In the early morning in downtown Manhattan, Occupy Wall Street protesters started to gear up for what some considered the first major threat to their nearly-month long residence at Zuccotti Park. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (I) had told the protesters that police would enforce a request from Brookfield, the private owners of the park, to eject the encampment for a cleaning at 7 a.m. Friday.
Half an hour before the scheduled ejection, Bloomberg’s office released a statement (see at bottom) saying the owners had changed their minds and would work with the protesters to keep the park clean.
The crowd erupted in cheers, and an impromptu march to Wall Street began in celebration:
Many protesters called the park owner’s about-face a victory for the movement:
“Late last night, we received notice from the owners of Zuccotti Park — Brookfield Properties — that they are postponing their scheduled cleaning of the park, and for the time being withdrawing their request from earlier in the week for police assistance during their cleaning operation. Our position has been consistent throughout: the City’s role is to protect public health and safety, to enforce the law, and guarantee the rights of all New Yorkers. Brookfield believes they can work out an arrangement with the protesters that will ensure the park remains clean, safe, available for public use and that the situation is respectful of residents and businesses downtown, and we will continue to monitor the situation.”