Protesters associated with the Occupy Wall Street movement have sworn to remain in Lower Manhattan's financial district until they see change, but on Tuesday afternoon they grappled with the possibility that they would not be allowed to stay in the small park that has served as a base camp.
Zuccotti Park, a privately-owned public park, is a small rectangle of trees and stone benches bounded by Broadway and Liberty Street, has become a small encampment -- complete with food, tents and media stations of latops powered by generators -- where the protesters regroup and formulate their next plans. On Tuesday afternoon, the discussion revolved around rumors that police officers would attempt to evict them from the park later in the evening, bolstered by anecdotes that police officers had already asked individual protesters to take down some tents.
A New York Police Department spokesperson declined to confirm or deny the rumor or to establish whether the protesters were breaking the law, and an e-mail to the New York Police Department was not answered by 5 p.m. EDT, when this article was published.
Lawyer Offers Pro Bono Services to Activists
Samuel Cohen, a civil rights lawyer with the firm Wylie Law, offered pro bono assistance in fighting the expulsion that rumor has it the police are imposing at 10PM EDT.. His suit and red tie stood in sharp contrast to the rest of the general assembly, a circle of protesters that repeated each sentence spoken by whoever had the floor and signaled approval for proposals by waving their fingers in the air.
This is a generous offer and it's a proposal, if you wish it to be he's making himself available for this body to discuss and reach consensus now, said a protester dressed in black jeans, a denim shirt and a reflective vest who called on speakers from a list of names written on a yellow notepad.
After voicing their concerns, the protesters voted unanimously to accept Wylie Law's help and set to randomly selecting two people to sign a retainer. Cohen said in an interview after that he would seek to file an emergency order to show cause in Manhattan's Southern District Court, although he acknowledged that he had no explicit indication that the police planned to try and force protesters out of the park.
Our top priority is in being sure this is allowed to continue, Cohen said. What these people are doing really is the essence of the First Amendment.