Proving that Mayor Bloomberg enjoys dancing on the razor's edge of public opinion, Hizzoner told reporters yesterday that he doesn't believe the Occupy Wall Street tents set up in Zuccotti Park are considered protected speech. "I'm 100 percent in favor of protecting—1,000 percent in favor—of giving people rights to say things, but also we have to protect those who don't want to say anything," Bloomberg said.

He continues, per his eponymous news outlet:

There are places where I think it's appropriate to express yourself and then there are other places that are appropriate to set up a tent city, and they don't necessarily have to be one and the same. The Constitution doesn't protect tents, it protects speech and assembly.

While a 1984 Supreme Court case involving protesters who wanted to camp on federal land seems to back up the mayor's assertions, Bloomberg distinguishing tents from the protesters' right to occupy Zuccotti Park seems specious. There are plenty of rules in place at the park that are currently not being enforced because doing so would provoke a potentially violent confrontation between peaceful protesters and the NYPD.

And unlike the case decided by the Supreme Court, these protests involve what is essentially private property. Stripping the group of their tents (as they unsuccessfully attempted yesteday thanks to Jesse Jackson) as the weather gets colder strikes us as a particularly cruel move.