Socialist Worker

Occupy Wall Street protesters force New York mayor to back off

by Anindya Bhattacharyya at Occupy Wall Street, New York
Issue No. 2273

Square to be cleared for cleaning? The occupiers did it themselves (Pic: Socialist Worker)

Square to be cleared for cleaning? The occupiers did it themselves (Pic: Socialist Worker)

Occupy Wall Street protesters were in a confident and defiant mood this morning, Friday, after an attempt to evict them from their protest site failed.

New York’s Republican mayor Michael Bloomberg had issued an order for the square in downtown Manhattan to be cleared this morning, allegedly for “cleaning”. The same tactics were used to evict a protest occupation near New York’s City Hall earlier this year.

Patrick from Occupy Wall Street's outreach committee spoke to Socialist Worker about how the threat to remove protesters from Liberty Plaza had defeated.

“We decided at our general assembly on Thursday night that we weren't going to leave,” he said. “Our legal team told us that the mayor needed a court order to get us out. So we spent yesterday and last night cleaning the site, and waited to see what would happen.

“By 6am this morning the square was absolutely full of people here to support us. Hundreds must have stopped by on the way into work. Then we were informed that the mayor had ‘postponed’ the clean-up and that the police were not coming.

“We were very happy about that!”

Mayor Bloomberg made his billions by selling computer systems to Wall Street. He does not want a high profile anti-capitalist protest in the middle of the city.

Liberty Plaza, where protesters have been for a month, is privately-owned land officially called Zuccotti Park. Bloomberg’s partner, Diana Taylor, is on the board of directors of the firm that owns the square.

The Occupy Wall Street protesters are now gearing up for a day of action against the banking industry tomorrow, Saturday. They plan to target Chase Manhattan bank in particular, calling on people to withdraw funds they have deposited there.

The protest has caught the imagination of an American public fed up with seeing education, health and housing services slashed while the super-rich get even richer.

It has also brought together a generation of young student protesters with older working class Americans organised through the trade union movement. Student and “labour outreach” assemblies were due to be held later in the day.

Protesters will stage occupations in cities around the world tomorrow as part of a day of action to highlight social and economic injustice.

In London assemble from 12 noon at St Paul’s Cathedral in central London.

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