Judge Backs Camping Ban at Protest Site

Posted by on Nov 15, 2011 at 5:42 pm

No tents or sleeping bags.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg on Tuesday defended his decision to clear the park in Lower Manhattan that was the birthplace of the Occupy Wall Street movement, saying “health and safety conditions became intolerable” in the park where the protesters had camped out for nearly two months.

Mr. Bloomberg said the city had planned to reopen the park on Tuesday morning after the protesters’ tents and tarps had been removed and the stone steps had been cleaned. He said the police had already let about 50 protesters back in when officials received word of a temporary restraining order sought by lawyers for the protesters. The police closed the park again while a judge heard arguments in State Supreme Court.

But late Tuesday afternoon, the judge ruled for the city, saying the protesters could go into Zuccotti Park but could not take their tents and sleeping bags. The judge, Justice Michael D. Stallman of State Supreme Court, said that the demonstrators “have not demonstrated that they have a First Amendment right to remain in Zuccotti Park, along with their tents, structures, generators and other installations” to the exclusion of the landlord or “others who might wish to use the space safely.”

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