By the time this post appears a showdown will have taken place in New York. City police, allegedly at the instigation of the Park’s owners, are due to confront the Occupation at Liberty Plaza (Zuccotti Park) on Friday at 7am (US Eastern). Update: showdown cancelled.
I’ve seen various accounts of what is intended, here’s The Guardian:
The collection of sleeping bags, camping stoves and Macbook Airs that makes up the Occupy Wall Street stronghold in Lower Manhattan is about to be broken up. Four weeks after the first protesters took up residence at Zuccotti Park, what looks like a final showdown with the city authorities is looming.
The owners of the park, Brookfield Properties, appear to have had enough of their uninvited guests and have ordered a cleanup to begin at 7am on Friday. On Thursday, representatives of the company distributed leaflets in the park saying that, following the clear-up, protesters will not be allowed to keep sleeping bags, tents, and other camping gear in the park. Nor will they be allowed to lie down on the benches or the ground. In effect, the camp is finished. …
Occupy Wall Street protesters called for supporters to gather at the park from 6am on Friday to defend it from what they said was an eviction attempt. Police say they will move in to enforce the clean-up from 7am. Some sort of confrontation appears inevitable.
OWS spokesman Tyler Combelic told the ThinkProgress website: “We have decided that at 7 o’clock tomorrow, we will not leave the park. We are not opposed to cleaning it ourselves.”
On Wednesday, protesters began cleaning up the park themselves.
The New York Police Department told the Guardian that the park would be cleaned in thirds on Friday, in an operation that was expected to last 12 hours. … Occupy Wall Street said the statement by the owners amounted to an “attempt to shut down #OWS for good”. …
Whatever happens, the protesters have made significant gains. They have forced the media to take notice of them, and they appear to have made inroads with public opinion.
A survey by Time magazine found that 54% of Americans have a favourable impression of the protests, with 23% reporting a negative impression. An NBC/Wall Street Journal survey, found 37% “tend to support” OWS, while 18% “tend to oppose” it. CBS News headlined a piece on its website: “Occupy Wall Street – more popular than you think”.
I’m not surprised that the Occupiers have decided to try and stay. Let us all hope that no one is hurt, as the police will no doubt use force to clear the park. Check out the morning media, there should be plenty of coverage of events as they unfold.