Occupy Wall Street Sidewalk Sleepovers Are Catching On

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NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 04:  A man associated with the 'Occupy Wall Street' movement relaxes in Zuccotti Park in the Financial District near Wall Street on November 4, 2011 in New York City. Despite a freak snowstorm last Saturday and the confiscation of their generators by the fire department, hundreds of young and old are staying put in the park. The activists have been gradually converging on the financial district over the past seven weeks to rally against the influence of corporate money in politics among a host of other issues. The protests have begun to attract the attention of major unions and religious groups as the movement continues to grow in influence around the world.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Photo: Spencer Platt/ Getty Images

Last week, Occupy Wall Street protesters launched a new tactic that brought back the actual occupation part of the movement: In line with a court decision from 2000 that said political demonstrators can sleep on sidewalks if they didn't take up too much space, some devoted, rugged people started doing just that. It began outside of banks around Union Square, and this week, it's moved back down to the symbolic battlefield: Wall Street.

The New York Times reports that protesters slept around the financial district for a third straight night yesterday, and again, police left them alone, sleeping bags and all. "Finally, here we are, in the belly of the beast," said one overnighter.

There were about 75 people last night around Wall Street, but as the weather continues to warm, and the plan spreads, this could very well generate substantial momentum for the movement, which has been far less visible since being evicted from Zuccotti Park in the fall. Already, similar sleepovers have been staged in Washington, Philadelphia, and Boston. "It takes a tremendous amount of resources to maintain a camp," one demonstrator explained. "But sidewalks are everywhere."

Mayor Bloomberg and Ray Kelly should start preparing.