After loitering for nearly two months, New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg finally took action overnight, clearing out so-called protesters who had turned Zuccotti Park, a privately owned, publicly accessible plaza in a residential neighborhood of downtown Manhattan, into a squalid Obamaville. “Health and safety conditions became intolerable,” the New York Times quotes the mayor as saying–though why it took him two months to figure that out is left unexplained.
Early this morning, former ACLU staffer Lucy Billings, now a New York Supreme Court justice (the Empire State’s odd designation for a trial judge), issued a temporary restraining order against the cleanup. According to the Times’s account, Billings’s order had the opposite effect: Bloomberg said police had begun allowing Obamavillians to return to the park, sans tents and tarps, but they closed the park altogether after receiving word of the injunction.
The Obamavillians, who style themselves “the 99%,” plan to retaliate by making the lives of ordinary New Yorkers more difficult. A 2:30 a.m. email from Justin Ruben of MoveOn.org urged recipients to “call 3-1-1 and demand that Mayor Bloomberg respect the protesters’ First Amendment rights.” The mayor does not answer calls to 311, a nonemergency city information line. The MoveOnsters are urging their supporters to harass people who are just doing their jobs answering the phones for the city.