Russell Simmons. Congressman Jerry Nadler, 13 New York City Councilmembers and thousands of people are asking NYC Mayor Bloomberg, “Don’t evict Occupy Wall Street demonstrators.”
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“Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Wednesday night that protesters would be made to leave” at 7am — effectively evicting the Occupy Wall Street.
Sign this emergency petition.
Mayor Bloomberg: Respect First Amendment rights. Don’t try to evict Occupy Wall Street.
Russell Simmons: “Dear @MikeBloomberg — I will pay for clean-up of Zuccotti Park to avoid confrontation.”
“My message to Mayor: Do NOT evict Occupy Wall Street. Protect 1st Amendment AND Community.
by Congressman Jerry Nadler on Thursday, October 13, 2011 at 6:37pm
I am very concerned by Mayor Bloomberg’s plan to remove Occupy Wall Street activists (OWS) from Zuccotti Park tomorrow morning. I believe that protecting the rights of OWS and the needs of the Lower Manhattan community are not mutually exclusive. This situation can and must be resolved in a manner that addresses the concerns of local businesses and residents without violating either the First Amendment or New York’s long tradition of respecting public protest. It would be unfortunate, precisely because it is unnecessary, if this matter were not resolved in an amicable manner.
The activists are now working to clean the park, and it should be possible to arrange for them to work cooperatively with the property owner to ensure that it is cleaned and maintained to everyone’s satisfaction. I support efforts currently underway by Manhattan’s Community Board 1 and OWS to develop a code of conduct to ensure ongoing cooperation and minimal disorder.
There should be no need for the police to execute a mass eviction if the parties can work together to clean and maintain the park. I also believe that it is possible to allow OWS to use the space and to maintain a presence that includes sleeping bags in a manner that permits the use and enjoyment of the park by the general public. Insofar as the property owner committed to keeping the park open to the public 24 hours a day in exchange for zoning concessions from the City, it has an obligation to work with OWS to ensure that this commitment is honored.
I am especially concerned that, in addition to prohibiting sleeping bags, the NYPD may also enforce a ban on such items as laptop computers. If true, this would be a serious and unnecessary infringement on core First Amendment interests. The City has no rational basis for preventing people who are peacefully using a public space to speak, write, or otherwise communicate their views.
The City has an obligation to maintain public order, but it also has an obligation to respect the right to speak, to protest, and to petition the government for redress of grievances. Apart from the requirements of the Constitution, New York City has long been home to political protests of all kinds. The City should respect that tradition, and our core constitutional values, by working with Occupy Wall Street to ensure that they may continue their important work.”
New York City Council members
Dear Mayor Bloomberg,
We are writing to appeal to you not to enforce new rules at Liberty Plaza that would effectively evict the Occupy Wall Street protest. Please respect the deep traditions of free speech and right of assembly thatmake this a great, free, diverse, and opinionated city and nation. While we do not all necessarily agree withtheir point-of-view, we support their right to be there, and we feel strongly that it would be a mistake for the City of New York to evict them.
We agree that it makes sense to clean Zucotti Park, and to develop concrete practices to address the serious concerns of the lower Manhattan neighborhood. We were pleased to learn that discussions have taken place between local elected officials, representatives of Manhattan Community Board 1 and Occupy Wall Street toward a good neighbor agreement. We support such an agreement to improve conditions for residents, area schools, and local businesses and we ask that you support and enforce it.
When you announced yesterday that the park would be cleaned, you indicated that protesters would be allowed to return, suggesting to the public and the protesters that the Occupy Wall Street protest would be allowed to continue. The new rules you are enforcing, however – in particular the prohibition on sleeping bags and gear – is an eviction notice and potentially an unconstitutional closing of a forum to silence free speech.
The willingness of the protesters to sleep out overnight, and many of the temporary elements they have established – for example, the communications center and library – are fundamental expressive elements of the Occupy Wall Street protest. By enforcing new rules that eliminate these, you are abridging their rights of assembly and free speech.
These traditions of free speech, public assembly, and public protest are a deep part of our American tradition, honored best of all in the civic spaces of New York City. Whether you agree or disagree with what they are saying – and we are mixed in our opinions – we believe that it would be a harmful disservice to these democratic traditions to evict them.Please reconsider the enforcement of these new rules, and work with the community board, local elected officials, and the protesters on regulations that address community concerns, but allow the protesters to remain. (This is the letter).