A highly volatile situation was averted today in downtown Manhattan when New York City officials postponed a scheduled cleanup of Zuccotti Park, where Occupy Wall Street protesters have been staging protests for the past three weeks.
Sensing that the planned removal of the demonstrators would have resulted in a violent clash between the protesters — who have been dubbed 99%ers — and police, hip hop mogul/activist Russell Simmons offered to pay for the cleanup.
Simmons made the proposition via Twitter late Thursday, imploring New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg to let him cover the tab for the sake of peace.
"Dear @MikeBloomberg -- I will pay for clean-up of Zuccotti Park to avoid confrontation. I don't wanna go to jail but I will be there ready!,” he tweeted. "Damn looks like they are gonna start a war out of this non violent movement. This could set off lots of chaos.”
With the cleanup now suspended, demonstrators were given a reprieve on the order to evacuate the park. Simmons, who was among the protesters early Friday morning, was happy no violence occurred.
“Thank God no confrontation no violence no jail. Clean-up cancelled. Thousands of peaceful people. #occupywallstreet,” he tweeted.
When city officials do decide to have the cleanup, the sweeping and power washing of the park will mean protesters will not be allowed back into the private park.