Occupy protests across the country have produced more than 200 violent incidents, including rape, knife attacks and shootings. There have been outbreaks of tuberculosis. The Zuccotti Park encampment, in particular, had become a public-health menace.Our elected officials have a duty to prevent such nightmares, even if they happen to agree with the vague cause of the protests — or see political gain in supporting them.
Downtown Community Coalition members fault Julie Menin, the (appointed) chair of their community board, as well as such elected officials as state Sen. Daniel Squadron, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.
Naturally, the coalition was relieved by Monday night’s park evacuation — and pleased when a judge upheld that action yesterday, overturning a temporary restraining order that threatened to let the tents return. They’ll certainly be following the appeals process.
Overall, the group is cautiously optimistic that the laws will be enforced — but they still feel let down by their local government officials, who aligned themselves with a cause instead of with the constituents they’re supposed to represent.
“Mayor Bloomberg said that you don’t notice the protest when you’re a block away,” Gerstman said. “That was so frustrating. They’re marching, holding meetings, our community board put port-a-potties three blocks away from the park. They’re very noticeable. We felt abandoned and like we had to do something.”
The group is also ready to fight any return by the Occupy Wall Street crowd — including filing litigation against park owner Brookfield Properties and the city.