A group of attorneys from the National Lawyers Guild just fired off a letter (below) to Brookfield Properties, which has thus far refused to negotiate with demonstrators occupying Zuccotti Park. At press time, Mayor Bloomberg and the NYPD have given no indication that they are persuaded by the protesters' DIY cleanup, and the stage is set for mass arrests tomorrow morning (or maybe in the dead of night, if Boston is any indication). Bloomberg spokesman Marc La Vorgna just sent this statement:
The protestors will be able to continue to exercise their First Amendment rights in Zuccotti Park, or anywhere else in New York City. Brookfield requested the City’s assistance so they can meet their obligation to maintain this public park for all New Yorkers. Protesters can remain in the park during Brookfield’s section-by-section clean-up and they will be able to return to the cleaned sections once work is completed tomorrow and can stay in the park 24/7 so long as they follow park rules.
We will continue to defend and guarantee their free speech rights, but those rights do not include the ability to infringe on the rights of others, which is why the rules governing the park will be enforced.
Ah, sounds reasonable enough! But the devil is in the details. As we pointed out this morning, the sticking point for protesters is the "rules being enforced." These rules are new and specifically tailored by Brookfield to drive away the occupation—they prohibit such things as tarps, sleeping bags, tents, and sleeping on the ground. Today NYPD Chief Ray Kelly confirmed that the NYPD would enforce the new rules, which make any long-term occupation of the park all but impossible, unless demonstrators are able to sleep standing up.
Attorney Gideon Oliver, one of the lawyers who drafted the letter below, tells us, "We hope that Brookfield and the city respond promptly to this very reasonable request."