OccupyWallStreet narrowly avoids eviction that might have ended protest

Owners of park that is HQ for OWS asked police to clear it for a good scrubbing; OWS scrubbed instead

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The OccupyWallStreet movement got another break from the city this morning – though they made their own good fortune this time around, rather than having someone else make the decision.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg's office announced the city would not evict OccupyWallStreet protesters from their base in Zucotti Park in lower Manhattan to allow the park's owners to clean the place.

The announcement, which came at 6:30 this morning, just half an hour before police were due to move in to begin the exodus, ended an increasingly tense standoff that started just two days after Bloomberg told reporters he'd decided the protest could stay in place "indefinitely" as long as protesters kept obeying laws about obstructing business or traffic and against camping out in public.

Bloomberg revealed the decision Monday before walking in the city's Columbus Day parade.

On Tuesday, OccupyWallStreet (OWS) staged a "Millionaires March" that visited the Manhattan buildings that are home to five of the wealthiest financiers and power players in New York.

The decision was a deliberate provocation of people organizers considered to be among the worst offenders in what they call economic warfare against the poor and middle classes. The march attracted a lot of attention, but not much direct response from the millionaires.

On Wednesday, however, the mayor and his office reversed their opinion following, Bloomberg said, a formal request from Brookfield Properties – the real-estate firm that owns Zucotti Park – to clear the property so it could clean up and repair any damage to the landscaping.

The protest "created unsanitary conditions and considerable wear and tear on the park," Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway told reporters Wednesday, to explain the city's reason for evicting protesters after two months of Occupation.

Fourteen city council members also notified Bloomberg they were in favor of having the park cleared.

Bloomberg's office announced yesterday that the city would start moving protesters out at 7 o'clock this morning, but would allow them back in – without most of the chairs, clothes, food and other stuff tucked into neat piles and covered with tarps in various areas of the park.

Photo Credit: 

Josh Harkinson via TwitPic

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