Occupy Wall Street protesters clashed with the police Friday morning, shortly after the announcement that the official cleanup of Zuccotti Park, the occupiers' home base in lower Manhattan, was to be postponed.
On its Web site, Occupy Wall Street marked this as a victory, saying, this development has emboldened the movement and sent a clear message that the power of the people has prevailed against Wall Street.
We are winning and Wall Street is afraid, said Kira Moyer-Sims, a protester from Portland, Ore. This movement is gaining momentum and is too big to fail.
Once they learned that their showdown with police was avoided, in their joy the protesters marched on Broadway toward the New York Stock Exchange. Descending on them with over 30 police cruisers and 50 officers, the police arrested 14 people including those who knocked over a police scooter, hurled bottles, and blocked traffic.
We had somebody knock over a scooter, said police spokesman Paul Browne, according to WCBS-TV. I don't know what the charges were. There were people in the street. The police officer was trying to get them out of the street.
After at least a dozen protesters were arrested, many Wall Street occupiers returned back to Zuccotti Park.
The decision to postpone the park's cleanup was announced by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg at around 6:20 a.m. ET on Friday, just 40 minutes before it was scheduled to start. The initial cleanup request was made by Brookfield Properties, which owns the park.
On Wednesday, Bloomberg informed the protesters that they had to leave by Friday because Brookfield has expressed concern about its inability to clean the park and maintain it in a condition fit for public use.
New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg himself visited the protesters at Zuccotti Park, as shown in the video footage.
However, Brookfield apparently changed its mind.
Brookfield believes they can work out an arrangement with the protesters that will ensure the park remains clean, safe, available for public use, according to a statement made by Deputy Mayor Caswell F. Holloway, and that the situation is respectful of residents and businesses downtown.
Bloomberg said on his weekly radio show on WOR-AM Friday morning that the company made the decision after receiving furious angry phone calls from elected officials, according to the Times.
My understanding is that Brookfield got lots of calls from many elected officials threatening them and saying ... 'We're going to make your life more difficult,' said Bloomberg.
A heavy cleanup was organized Thursday afternoon by the Occupy Wall Street protesters themselves, hoping to prevent the scheduled cleanup at 7 a.m. Friday by Brookfield Properties, the real estate company that owns Zuccotti Park.
The park is perfectly clean. What we wanted to do is do a deep clean of the park, so everyone can see that any sort of confrontation that might happen tomorrow has nothing to do with the cleaning, Ambrose Desmond told IBTimes.
With the permission to remain at the park for further protests, the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators will continue to clean Zuccotti Park on their own.