New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg visited Occupy Wall Street's encampment for the first time on Wednesday night to deliver a message: we need to clean the park.
Bloomberg has softened his stance towards the protesters, reversing his original critique by saying the protesters can stay in Zuccotti Park indefinitely as long as they don't break the law. He reiterated that position but told the protesters they had to leave the park on Friday, citing unsanitary conditions outlined in a letter from the park's owner, Brookfield Properties.
The mayor is a strong believer in the First Amendment and believes that the protesters have a right to continue to protest, Caswell Holloway, the deputy mayor for operations, said in a statement. At the same time, the last three weeks have created unsanitary conditions and considerable wear and tear on the park. This situation is not in the best interests of the protesters, residents or the city.
Protesters say that they have tried to clean the park regularly, and some are already trying to organize a massive cleanup to pre-empt the city's effort. A Facebook event entitled Operation #wallstcleanup had already sprung up by Thursday morning, asking for donations of brooms, mops, squeegees, dust pans, garbage bags, power washers and any other cleaning supplies and calling for a full-camp cleanup session on Thursday night.
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, the event's description said. If NYPD attempts to enter, we'll peacefully/non-violently stand our ground and those who are willing will get arrested.
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