[UPDATE BELOW] The battle for power at Occupy Wall Street continues! Yesterday firefighters seized a generator belonging to a licensed food vendor who operates a cart on the sidewalk outside Zuccotti Park. The vendor, who has only been identified as Ali, was reportedly running a power cord from his cart to the protesters' media tent. In seizing the generator, the FDNY cited "failure to provide a permit for the storage of gasoline and failure to have a permit to change out propane tanks." Regarding the first violation, Ali tells A Great Big City the gasoline canister was empty. Here's the first video:

Fire Marshals Cite Occupy Wall Street Electricity Supporting Food Vendor - NYC from JoeyBoots on Vimeo.

A Fire Marshal at the scene explained that in New York City, "The fire code states that an empty gasoline canister is equivalent to a full canister." See, the crackdown on Ali had nothing to do with helping Occupy Wall Street! Here's a second video, recorded after the generator was seized. It shows what appears to be few grouchy undercover cops being scolded by a handful of tenacious protesters, as the offending generator is taken to a nearby firehouse.

The photographer who took the photo above writes, "The number of firefighters who showed up to remove the empty gas container and generator was so silly; they, I think, felt kind of ridiculous, just sort of milling around to no purpose, and in full gear. Unsurprisingly, the NYPD presence was huge as well. And then the news crews were right there, recording the solemn 'handing of the violations' to poor Ali, who looked totally stricken.

"What was funny was, toward the end of drama, an Occupier starting strumming and singing an improvised 'Ballad of Ali's Generator.' Even the cops were cracking a smile at some of the lyrics." The FDNY and an Occupy Wall Street representative did not immediately respond to requests for comment; we'll update if we hear back.

Speaking of generators, don't think the protesters have forgotten about the other ones the FDNY seized last week. Lawyers for the demonstrators have now sent two letters to the FDNY demanding the return of their property. Here's fiery letter number two, in which the attorneys threaten to take the FDNY to court to get the generators back:

Return the Generators... Or Suffer the Consequences

In the meantime, there's always pedal power. Surely the authorities can't have any problem with the protesters operating bikes on the sidewalk.

Update: Occupy Wall Street spokesman Patrick Bruner tells us, "From what I know the vendor was merely helping to charge cell phones and the like. This is obviously a continuation of the Mayor's extralegal policies aimed at silencing our First Amendment rights. A few days ago the mayor was lambasting our movement for hurting small businesses—in spite of the fact that the businesses are being hurt due to unnecessary barricades, and in spite of the fact that we saved Liberato's Pizza from bankruptcy—and now he's using the police to shut down street vendors for using their own permitted generators to help a cause that they believe in."