Photograph by Mario Tama/Getty Images.
New York Police forced over 300 Occupy Wall Street protesters out of Union Square Park early Wednesday morning after warning the protesters that the park would close at midnight.
The New York Daily News reports that dozens of police officers surrounded the park on Tuesday night in preparation of the move, and two FDNY ambulances were on standby in case of violence. One person was arrested as the crowd was forced to leave the newly occupied location.
While activists insisted Union Square Park is a public space, city authorities said they could only allow a relatively small group of 25 people or less to remain if they were going to sit or sleep in the park.
OWS supporters had moved their Zuccotti base camp to the park after last weekend’s protests to mark the movement’s six-month anniversary, reports the Huffington Post. Seventy-three people who refused to leave were detained after Saturday’s 600-person demonstration.
From the Wall Street Journal:
On Monday, two City Council members who have supported Occupy Wall Street since its inception, Ydanis Rodriguez and Jumaane Williams, denounced what they characterized as police abuse of protesters during a press conference. Both lawmaker took part in Saturday’s protest.
The protesters “are not terrorists, they are not enemies of the state,” said Williams. “This park is to be used by the public. Occupy Wall Street is part of the public.” He added: “What this is about—and let’s be clear—is suppression of dissent.”