- demonstrations - financial crisis - New York - USA - Wall Street
New York delays clean-up of Wall Street protest park
New York City authorities have postponed a planned cleaning of Zuccotti Park, the centre of the Occupy Wall Street protests that began on September 17. Protesters had claimed the clean-up was an attempt to evict them.
AFP - Hundreds of protesters celebrated early Friday as New York City postponed the evacuation of the square turned tent city at the epicenter of weeks of anti-Wall Street demonstrations.
The owners of the private square suspended their request for the city to evacuate it for routine cleaning and said they believed they could reach an agreement with the protesters, Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway said in a statement.
"Our position has been consistent throughout: the city's role is to protect public health and safety, to enforce the law, and guarantee the rights of all New Yorkers," Holloway said in a statement.
Brookfield Properties, which owns the square, "believes they can work out an arrangement with the protesters that will ensure the park remains clean, safe, available for public use and that the situation is respectful of residents and businesses downtown, and we will continue to monitor the situation," he added.
Hundreds of protesters who had stayed up all night girding for a showdown with police hailed the decision as a victory for the weeks-old movement protesting alleged corporate greed and official corruption.
"People united will never be defeated!" they chanted after word of the decision spread through the tent camp in Zuccotti Square, which the protesters have renamed "Liberty Plaza."
"This is a victory for us. We just learned that the mayor has postponed the cleaning," Tania Barragan, a spokeswoman for the protesters, told AFP, adding that the demonstrators were still discussing their next move.
On Thursday the protesters cleaned the square themselves and called on supporters to come help prevent authorities from dislodging them.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg had urged the protesters to leave, insisting they could return after the cleaning, but police chief Ray Kelly said they would not be allowed to bring back tents and camping equipment.
Since the protesters began camping out in the square on September 17 they have inspired similar demonstrations in several cities and towns against the alleged greed and corruption of the US financial system and American politics.
They have no formal hierarchy or leadership, and are mainly united by the slogan: "We Are The 99 percent that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the one percent."