A little while ago Judge Michael Stallman ruled that protesters were permitted to return to Zuccotti Park, but were not permitted to bring tents, tarps or generators.
And Mayor Bloomberg quickly released a statement saying that the ruling vindicated his administration’s decision to clear the park. He also said that if protesters were unhappy about being kept out of Zuccotti earlier today, they had no one to blame but themselves: Had they followed city orders all along, and not brought the lawsuit, they could have returned earlier today.
“This morning we planned to re-open Zuccotti Park to the public, including any protestors, at approximately 8:00 AM when the cleaning was completed. The opening of the park was delayed due to legal action taken against the City, but Zuccotti Park is now open to the public,” the mayor said.
“The court’s ruling vindicates our position that First Amendment rights do not include the right to endanger the public or infringe on the rights of others by taking over a public space with tents and tarps. The City has the ultimate responsibility to protect public health and safety and we will continue to ensure that everyone can express themselves in New York City. Zuccotti Park will remain open to all who want to enjoy it, as long as they abide by the park’s rules.”