|From:||Micah White <firstname.lastname@example.org>|
|Sent time:||Monday, September 26, 2011 7:35:41 PM|
|Subject:||Re: [september17discuss] Protesters Dig in as Park Owner Seeks Their Eviction|
The activists protesting against American financial institutions in Lower Manhattan have had an unlikely host for their eight-day-old encampment: Brookfield Office Properties Inc., a giant office landlord more accustomed to housing big banks than anticapitalist agitators.
Hundreds of activists have camped out for the past week in Zuccotti Park, a public space that's owned by Brookfield and named for its co-chairman, John Zuccotti. It isn't far from the target of the protest's ire, Wall Street.
Brookfield would rather have the protesters removed, but the New York Police Department has urged the firm to let them stay, according to a person familiar with the matter. Both Brookfield and the NYPD say they're working together to resolve the situation.
"Zuccotti Park is intended for the use and enjoyment of the general public for passive recreation," the company said in a statement. "We are extremely concerned with the conditions that have been created by those currently occupying the park and are actively working with the City of New York to address these conditions and restore the park to its intended purpose."
Melissa Coley, a spokeswoman for the firm, declined to comment on any tension with the NYPD. Paul Browne, a police spokesman, didn't respond to an email seeking comment.
The private ownership puts Zuccotti Park in a legal gray area that has yet to be resolved in court, said Jerold Kayden, a Harvard professor who wrote a book on such spaces.
Unlike city sidewalks, where a federal judge has ruled demonstrators can sleep, there's less precedent for places like Zuccotti Park. "The accent in privately-owned public space, for purposes of the public, is on public," Mr. Kayden said. "Owners are required to make the space available to members of the public for reasonable use."
The park is one of many in the city created by developers to get zoning incentives--generally the ability to build taller buildings.
Christopher Dunn, the associate legal director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said the park's unusual legal status might give protesters more leverage in court.
So far, the loosely organized protests haven't encountered much trouble from authorities in the park. Only when they tried to erect a tent and write in chalk on the sidewalk did police move in and make arrests. More than 80 protesters were arrested Saturday during a march without a permit to Union Square.
On Sunday afternoon, protesters were still in Zuccotti Park, laying out sleeping bags and promising to stay indefinitely.
Meanwhile, Brookfield--whose tenants include Bank of America Corp. and Morgan Stanley--started Sunday to make their park slightly more inhospitable.
Brookfield posted rules against a range of behaviors such as laying tarps, sleeping bags and personal property on the ground.
Previously, the only rules posted in the park prohibited skateboarding, rollerblading and bicycling. Men in suits tried to pass out printed copies of the rules, but protesters refused and chanted "Don't take the papers". So they put stacks on benches and tables, prompting the protesters to accuse them of littering.
The rules could give authorities a reason to eject protesters. It could also prompt lawsuits that define the rights of protesters in New York City's privately owned parks with public access.
Amber Benham contributed to this article.
Write to Andrew Grossman at email@example.com
Credit: By Andrew Grossman
News 1 new result for "justin wedes" Protesters Dig in as Park Owner Seeks Their Eviction
But protesters like Justin Wedes said they have no plans to move just yet. “It seems like an attempt, a half-hearted attempt," Wedes said. ...
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