New York City police flooded downtown Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park early Tuesday morning and evicted hundreds of protesters that had set up camp since September.
At around 1 a.m. on Tuesday, police handed out notices from Brookfield Office Properties, owner of the park, and the city saying that the park must be cleared because it had become a health and fire hazard.
Most protesters left peacefully, however, police arrested 70 protesters, some of which had linked arms in defiance and were connected to each other with chains.
The surprised protesters chanted, “whose park, our park” and “you don’t have to do this.”
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg released a statement in the early hours of the morning saying, “At one o’clock this morning, the New York City Police Department notified protesters in the park that they had to immediately remove tents, sleeping bags and other belongings, and must follow the park rules if they wished to continue to use it to protest.”
The statement continued, “Protesters – and the general public – are welcome there to exercise their First Amendment rights, and otherwise enjoy the park, but will not be allowed to use tents, sleeping bags, or tarps and, going forward, must follow all park rules.”
Bloomberg concluded his statement arguing, “Protesters have had two months to occupy the park with tents and sleeping bags. Now they will have to occupy the space with the power of their arguments.”
Protesters were told that they could return in several hours without tents, tarps, and sleeping bags.
Most protesters complied with the order to move belongings but the NYPD and the city’s Sanitation Department “assisted in removing any remaining tents and sleeping bags,” according to the mayor.
According to reports coming out of Zuccotti Park, police have dumped tents, pallets, sleeping bags and 5,554 books into dump trucks.
Occupy Wall Street librarians tweeted about the eviction, “Right now, the NYPD are throwing over 5,000 books from our library into a dumpster. Will they burn them? … Call 311 or 212-639-9675 and ask why Mayor Bloomberg is throwing the 5,554 books from our library into a dumpster.”
Notices handed out to protesters indicated that anything left behind would be taken away by the police and sanitation department, but could be picked up at a sanitation department building.
To watch a video of the eviction please view below.