Just before dawn Friday, the owner of Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan postponed a plan to evict the Occupy Wall Street protesters from the park in order to clean it, averting a looming clash between authorities and hundreds of protesters thronging the park.
Brookfield Properties had declared its intention to clean the park on Friday morning, citing unsanitary and unsafe conditions, and had enlisted the city's help to clear the Occupy Wall Street protesters who have made the downtown Manhattan park their base camp. But by 6 a.m., the park was already fortified with a dense wall of protesters prepared to repel any attempt.
I have on question for you: who here is ready to defend this park? a speaker asked to roars of approval.
We have a plan to hold the interior of this park, the speaker continued, adding, how many of you are prepared to stand in solidarity all around this park, arm in arm? He went on to advise protesters on what to do in the event they were arrested.
Shortly after 6:30, a speaker announced that he had a brief statement from Deputy Mayor for Operations Cas Holloway. He was quickly drowned out by an eruption of cheering and applause, following by a reverbertating chant of The people, united, will never be defeated!
The statement announced that Brookfield was 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.
Holloway added that Brookfield was prepared to strike a deal with the protesters. Because the park is privately owned Brookfield has the ultimate discretion to make a decision about whether to allow the protesters to stay.
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, Holloway said.
Seeking to demonstrate their ability to maintain the park, protesters undertook a massive cleaning on Thursday afternoon, purchasing supplies from a general fund that they said exceeded $150,000.
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