Mayor Bloomberg has been playing nice with Occupy Wall Street protesters camped out in Zuccotti Park recently— especially since he narrowly avoided political suicide when the forced clearing and cleaning of Zuccotti was cancelled by Brookfield Properties. But Hizzoner doesn't want you to think he's getting soft: Bloomberg said this morning that the city would start cracking down on demonstrations much more: “We will start enforcing that more,” he said of rules requiring permits for marches and assemblies

While on the John Gambling radio show this morning, Bloomberg credited the protesters for “generally obeying the law” and being "peaceful," but noted he was concerned the continuing protests, which have lasted over a month now, were interfering with other New Yorkers’ rights to enjoy their property and the city: “We’ll eventually have to work something out here,” he said, though he didn't specify any more than that. He also said that he had spoken with a landlord whose tenants want to "cancel" their leases, because of proximity to Zuccotti Park.

While a recent poll found that the vast majority of NYC approves of Occupy Wall Street—both their right to protest as well as their message—Bloomberg has largely been condescending toward OWS, even as he's publicly defended their right to free speech. Earlier this week, he said that he doesn't believe the OWS tents set up in Zuccotti Park are considered protected speech.

OWS's media coordinator Thorin Caristo responded with the following statement:

His inability to create a clear and definitive opinion or position on OWS just shows he's being tossed around like a bird in a storm. We all know what that storm is, that storm is the growing concern in the higher factions of Wall Street, that this movement might actually be making a difference.

The mayor's statements sound hardline and I have no doubt he may actually try to enforce those. But we all know that every time excessive police force is used in this situation the movement grows exponentially.