Occupy Wall Street Protesters Skirt Shutdown With Clean Up

The protesters pushed brooms and mops across the park grounds to avoid being pushed out by police.

Posted: 10/14/2011 10:50 AM EDT
The protesters pushed brooms and mops across the park grounds to avoid being pushed out by police.

Facing a temporary shutdown for routine cleaning of Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park Thursday, Occupy Wall Street protesters were told by the city that they could remain in the park uninterrupted after several protesters banded together and cleaned up the mess themselves.

Thursday afternoon, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg sparked a furor over his announcement that protesters would need to vacate the park by Friday morning, citing complaints by the owners of the park, Brookfield Properties, that conditions were unsanitary. Protesters have been camped out at the park for nearly four weeks.

After the announcement, the group of protesters, often criticized for their lack of organization, banded together and decided to clean the park themselves rather than be removed by the city — even boasting the existence of an internal Sanitation Working Group to address the problem. The group posted a passionate appeal to their members and supporters on their website yesterday, asking them to call the mayor and come down to the park to “defend” their space.  

“Late last night, we received notice from the owners of Zuccotti Park — Brookfield Properties — that they are postponing their scheduled cleaning of the park, and for the time being withdrawing their request from earlier in the week for police assistance during their cleaning operation,” New York City deputy mayor Cas Holloway said in a statement released Friday.

About 600 to 700 protesters gathered to clean the park early Friday morning. The group’s Sanitation Working Group also reportedly hired a private garbage truck to pick up excess curbside garbage.

The ongoing protests have lasted for nearly four weeks and have been replicated in several other U.S. cities.

(Photo: AP Photo/John Minchillo)