Mayor Bloomberg made some ominous comments today about the ongoing Occupy Wall Street protests that have been going on for nearly two weeks in Zuccotti Park. When he was asked on his weekly radio show whether he'll let the anti-corporate protesters stay as long as they want, he responded cryptically: "We'll see. People have a right to protest, but we also have to make sure that people who don't want to protest can go down the streets unmolested."
"We have to make sure that while you have the right to say what you want to say, people who want to say something very different have a right to say that as well," the mayor told WOR radio host John Gambling. Zuccotti Park is privately owned, but Bloomberg said the park must remain open to the public because of an agreement the owners struck with the city years ago to win zoning code changes. And there's also sanitation to worry about: "The right to protest is part of our culture. It's also true that there are other societal concerns. You're worried about sanitation and you're worried about lots of different laws on the books."
In general, Bloomberg has not had much sympathy for the protesters since they took over the square, despite the fact he predicted something like this would happen. The billionaire criticized them today for a lack of nuance in their arguments, and accused them of targeting the wrong people: "The protesters are protesting against people who make $40,000, $50,000 year and are struggling to make ends meet." He also added, "Those are the people that work on Wall Street in the finance sector...If the banks don't go out and make loans, we will not come out of our economic problems. We will not have jobs."