NEW YORK CITY – New York’s Mayor Bloomberg ordered 1,000 riot police to clear out Occupy Wall Street overnight in Zuccotti Park.
Bloomberg said the park was cleared overnight on Monday to reduce confrontation however there were major clashes as protesters were evicted and are now regrouping to Foley Square.
“Make no mistake, the final decision to act was mine,” Bloomberg said at a press conference. “The law that created Zuccotti Park required that it be open for the public to enjoy for passive recreation 24 hours a day. Ever since the occupation began, that law has not been complied with, as the park has been taken over by protesters, making it unavailable to anyone else.”
According to an Occupy Wall Street spokesman, the police used violence to clear out the park and hit council member Ydanis Rodriguez on the head after being beaten by officers.
“Some people were handed paper notices asking them to leave to park around 45 minutes before police started clearing,” protester Joseph Richard Carelli said. “Batons were being used against those who stood their ground. We had to leave our tents, sleeping bags and most of our belongings, we didn’t have time to get them out.”
A judge issued a temporary restraining order allowing protesters to return to the park. However protesters were told they could return to the park after it was cleared in several hours, but told not to bring sleeping bags or tents. Police say the park was cleared because it had become unsanitary and hazardous.
The New York Times reported that Justice Lucy Billings has set a hearing for 11:30 a.m. today saying authorities would not be allowed to evict protesters or enforce rules over tent use.
Photos – Protesters being cleared out from Zuccotti Park
Video – Watch as NYPD move in to clear out Zuccotti Park
HOW EVENTS HAVE UNFOLDED IN NEW YORK’S ZUCCOTTI PARK
September 17: 1,000 demonstrators gather in Manhattan as Wall Street is put on lockdown. They move to Zuccotti Park.
September 18: Sleeping on cardboard boxes, eating pizzas, the protest beds in
September 24: Protesters clash with police as they march along Broadway
September 27: Hackers target New York police officers accused of using excessive force on protesters
September 30: Mayor Michael Bloomberg says ‘We’ll see’ when asked if protesters could stay indefinitely
October 1: Demonstration held outside NYPD headquarters
October 2: A library and pharmacy are set up in the camp showing the protesters are there for the long haul
October 4: Presidential candidate Herman Cain tells says: ‘Don’t blame Wall Street, don’t blame the big banks, if you don’t have a job and you’re not rich, blame yourself.’
October 10: Kanye West visits the protest
October 11: Mayor Bloomberg says the protest can remain indefinitely
October 12: Bloomberg criticises protesters for unfairly blaming ‘hard-working’ people for problems facing the U.S.
October 14: Protesters arrested in a crackdown as a planned eviction is postponed at the last minute
October 15: Rupert Murdoch heckled by Occupy Wall Street activist in Sesame Street outfit costume
October 18: President Obama said: ‘Martin Luther King would want us to challenge excesses of Wall Street’.
October 21: 30 Rock star Alec Baldwin tells protesters ‘capitalism is worthwhile’.
October 28: Generators are taken from the camp by city authorities
November 15: Clashes in New York as hundreds of riot police move in to clear protesters from Zuccotti Park camp.