Three people were arrested early this morning for disorderly conduct after the NYPD removed the barricades around Zuccotti Park last night. Although the NYPD declined to tell us the gender or names of the protesters, one of them was Howard Stern Show regular Joey Boots, who alleges that he was arrested for simply sitting down. "Cop pissed me off on live stream saying u will be arrested for sitting in park - gonna sit my fat ass down," he wrote, and was arrested shortly thereafter. He also told prolific #OWS tweeter @NewYorkist that his ACL had recently been operated on, and was just resting his legs.
Photographer Ellen Moynihan describes the scene of around 300 people converging on Zuccotti Park to celebrate.
It was a really bizarre night, with a several-hours-long game of cat and mouse between cops and protesters-- cardboard was fought over repeatedly, and quickly politicized. Cardboard...A banner was suspended from trees, sporadic mediation occurred, tea and pizza were served, the ubiquitous Peoples' Library made an appearance. It was sort of like an attempted throwback to the way things were the last time the park was open and without barricades (and not an entirely unsuccessful one).
While some protesters credited the NYCLU and other civil rights organizations for their recent letter to the Department of Buildings pointing out the zoning violations the barricades created, NYPD spokesperson Paul Browne told DNAinfo that the barricade removal was "unrelated to the letter." Browne said that the barricades were taken away because they "were not needed." The DOB also told the outlet that the barricades violated no laws.
Brookfield Properties, the real estate giant who owns and is charged with maintaining Zuccotti Park, declined to comment to us beyond confirming that the barricades were in fact removed.
What remains unclear are the rules that currently govern the park. While the rules that were implemented after the eviction restricted food, large bags, and lying down or sleeping, these regulations seem to have been inconsistently enforced last night. Pizza was present, but police deemed the use of cardboard as "padding," and threatened to arrest anyone sitting or lying down.
With the movement auditioning accountants to manage their war chest, and the park now barricade-free, could this spark another attempt to occupy the space as early as this weekend? The Daily News' Anjali Mullany tweeted the scene at 7:41 a.m.: "about 9 protesters, 16 security or cops, the NY1 satellite truck, an unmarked satellite truck."