Bloomberg finally moves on Zuccotti Park
After two months of dithering while the OWS encampment became a cesspool of disease and criminal activity, New York city Mayor Michael Bloomberg finally ordered the park cleared.
Police brought the two-month-old Occupy Wall Street encampment in Zuccotti Park to an abrupt end early Tuesday morning, as hundreds of officers swept in and cleared out protesters and their tents.
They arrested 70 protesters who refused to leave and sent others into the surrounding streets, setting off clashes and marches throughout Lower Manhattan.
The incursion marks a dramatic turn in what had become a vexing saga for New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. It puts an end to questions about quality of life and public safety in and around the park, which had been taken over by protesters. But it's not clear whether the eviction will end the protests or push them into a volatile new phase that's harder for police to control.
Zuccotti Park was the birthplace and main stage of what has become a wave of nationwide protests targeting corporate bailouts and economic inequality. The dispersal of protesters in Lower Manhattan is the latest and most high-profile of a series of police crackdowns on encampments around the country.
Mr. Bloomberg quickly took responsibility for the move, saying in a statement released before dawn that the park's owners had asked for the city's help in enforcing its rules against sleeping there, but that "the final decision to act was mine."
The New York City Police Department made its move shortly after 1 a.m., when hundreds of officers in riot gear surrounded the small, privately owned plaza. They turned on large batteries of lights. Some used bullhorns to warn those sleeping there that the area was being temporarily evacuated so it could be cleaned and cleared of illegal structures.
The OWS crowd likes to compare their encampment to the occupation of Tahrir Square in Cairo during the revolution there.
Sorry, not even close.
First of all, the Cairo protest had thousands of campers. Zucotti park had a couple of hundred. Secondly, there was no problem with sanitation or disease in Tahrir Square because Egyptian youth obviously have a better grasp of like, you know, washing yourself, not defacating everywhere and anywhere, how to get rid of garbage and uneaten food, and how to prevent acquiring head lice in confined quarters. The Tahrir Square protestors also knew about patrolling the venue to prevent crime.
Simple sanitation was so far beyond the imagining of the OWS crowd that they allowed their encampment to become a rat trap - a festering public health hazard. In their idea of a utopian society, nobody was responsible for anything. And since they had no ownership stake in the property, they saw no reason to maintain it.
It doesn't matter if you agree with their critique or their goals - or not. They will never understand how they endangered the city through their laziness, ignorance, and deliberate uncaring attitudes toward the rest of the population. Draining police resources - resources that could have been used to prevent crime in far more dangerous areas of the city - also showed a juvenile selfishness about their cause, and their own inflated opinion of themeselves.
They will probably throw a tantrum and riot today. Good. It will expose them as the dangerous, immature children that they've always been.