The cleanup of the Lower Manhattan park that has been occupied by protesters for nearly a month was postponed Friday shortly before it was supposed to begin, averting a possible showdown between the police and demonstrators who had vowed to resist any efforts to evict them from their home base site.
The New York Times reports that the announcement about the cleanup was made by the Bloomberg administration around 6:20 a.m., 40 minutes before workers were scheduled to enter Zuccotti Park. Demonstrators were angered by this because they felt this was an underhanded way of shutting them down.
“Late last night, we received notice from the owners of Zuccotti Park — Brookfield Properties — that they are postponing their scheduled cleaning of the park, and for the time being withdrawing their request from earlier in the week for police assistance during their cleaning operation,”
Deputy Mayor Caswell F. Holloway said in a statement (via NY Times).
Brookfield believes they can work out an arrangement with the protesters that will ensure the park remains clean, safe, available for public use.
Despite efforts to remain peaceful, there have been some clashes between protesters and police when demonstrators started marching through the streets of Lower Manhattan after learning that the cleanup had been called off. A number of protesters were seen being taken into custody.
Fourteen people were arrested, including protesters who knocked over a police scooter, overturned trash cans, hurled bottles and sat in the street blocking traffic, said the head police spokesman.