Brookfield Office Properties, the corporate firm that owns Zuccotti Park, has determined that the space could use some cleaning. Michael Bloomberg decided to deliver this news himself on Wednesday evening, marking his first-ever appearance at Occupy Wall Street (of which he does not seem overly fond). After a brief, civil tour of the grounds (there was reportedly a little booing), the mayor announced that protesters would be required to temporarily vacate the park on Friday to allow for a multi-stage maintenance effort. Demonstrators will be allowed to return to the newly cleaned area “provided they abide by the rules that Brookfield has established” for the property.
In response, the demonstrators have vowed to complete the cleanup themselves. According to a new Facebook event, the protesters are soliciting donations for “brooms, mops, squeegees, dust pans, garbage bags, power washers and any other cleaning supplies” to be collected by a “sanitation committee.” Then they’ll get to work:
After General Assembly on Thursday, we’ll have a full-camp cleanup session. Sanitation can coordinate, and anyone who is available will help with the massive community effort!
Then, Friday morning, we’ll awake and position ourselves with our brooms and mops in a human chain around the park, linked at the arms. If NYPD attempts to enter, we’ll peacefully/non-violently stand our ground and those who are willing will get arrested.
Brookfield wrote in a letter to NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly that they were “extremely concerned about dangers posed by damage that may have been incurred within the Park and by materials and equipment brought into the Park by the protesters.” While Bloomberg’s solution, and the protesters’ response, sound like a temporary fix, that might not be the one the park’s owners are looking for. “The situation continues to worsen and we need your assistance to ensure public safety,” the group wrote to the police. Their patience seems to be wearing thin, setting the stage for a potential weekend showdown.
This post has been updated with additional information.