On Tuesday a Judge ruled against the injunction to halt the eviction of protesters from Zuccotti Park, the heart of the Wall Street protest movement. The decision could trigger similar rulings against Wall Street-like protest movements across the country.
In the early hours of Tuesday morning at least 1,000 riot police descended on Zuccotti Park, which had become ground zero of the two-month-old Wall Street protest movement, and began the process of evicting protest participants, as per the order of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Still, Bloomberg’s order was undermined by Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Lucy Billings, who issued an order that would allow protesters to return.
Billings scheduled a hearing for later Tuesday, which would effectively prevent authorities from evicting protesters.
Responding to Billings’ injunction to halt the eviction of the protesters, State Supreme Court Judge, Justice Michael D. Stallman ruled that the demonstrators “have not demonstrated that they have a First Amendment right to remain in Zuccotti Park, along with their tents, structures, generators and other installations”
The judge continued, specifically to the exclusion of the landlord or “others who might wish to use the space safely.”
At issue was the determination of whether the city and a privately owned park, which is owned by Brookfield Office Properties Inc., were imposing reasonable restrictions which are allowed under the First Amendment.
The judge indicated that irrespective of whether the property was private, the owners would still be bound by the first amendment.
Still, he said the protesters had “not demonstrated that they have a First Amendment right to remain in Zuccotti Park, to the exclusion of the owner's reasonable rights and duties to maintain Zuccotti Park, or to the rights to public access of others who might wish to use the space safely."
The ruling is viewed by some as the marker by which other Wall Street-like protest movements could be halted in cities across the nation.
According to Bloomberg, “New York City is the city where you can come and express yourself, what was happening in Zuccotti Park was not that.”
He claimed that demonstrators had taken over the park, “making it unavailable to anyone else."