Despite earlier signage indicating a 10 p.m. curfew in Zuccotti Park after yesterday's eviction and cleaning, the NYPD clarified that protesters will be allowed to stay in the park 24 hours a day. However, "lying down" remains prohibited, making it difficult for those who have made the park their home to sleep there. One man skirted the rule by sleeping in a semi-upright position. Another who identified himself as homeless curled up in the fetal position on a bench. Two NYPD officers approached him within minutes, and jabbed him in the ribs with their hands. "Sit up. You can't lie down. No sleeping."
The effects of the raid and new rules are apparent: this morning, there were roughly 100 people in the park total, with a ratio of press to protesters of 1:1. After one man passed out from exhaustion, he was surrounded by journalists before the police and sanitation minders in the park could even react. Roughly every 20 minutes, there is a dispute with the park's security over what constitutes a "small" bag, as those entering with the ambiguous larger-than-legal parcels are routinely denied entry.
Late last night, a small group of protesters gathered outside Trinity Church. One man, who had been living at Zuccotti Park for weeks and refused to be identified, said he'd lost everything in the raid of the park. "They took my clothing, my ID, money, books, everything. Threw them all out." When reminded that Mayor Bloomberg said he'd be able to pick up his belongings (and endure plenty of red tape doing so), he said, "I don't believe it. Maybe I'll check it out tomorrow, but they were just trashing everything." Another demonstrator, Marlisa Wise, pointed out, "You could hear people's property crunching in the dump trucks last night. Our billionaire mayor, who bought the last three elections, has now tried to crush a peaceful democratic movement. It won't work."
Wise, a Red Hook resident, has been working in the movement's kitchen since the first week. After she and other kitchen volunteers carted 15 trays of food into the park last night to serve a pasta dinner, the police told her, "You can't do that here." It's unclear which of the park rules were broken, considering the food was inspected prior to entering the park, and presumably did not contain tents or sleeping bags. They eventually relocated in front of Trinity Church, where meals were carried to the park on trays. "The kitchen won't really be affected by the eviction," she says. "We've always cooked meals off-site, and we'll continue to do that to serve the people participating in the General Assembly meetings."
"Maybe Zuccotti is just the focal point, maybe people will just meet here and sleep elsewhere." Goldi, originally from the East Village and who has stayed in the park since the first week, is musing on where he and other protesters will sleep. "Some people will probably head to Battery Park, and a few churches are letting people stay."
Another protester named Josh felt that the problems the eviction presented could be overcome. "This morning, our plan was to get our park back. And that happened. Now, the plan is to figure out where to sleep." He added, "It'll happen. We'll be back here or we'll find a solution." 22-year-old protester Michelle Rodriguez, who notes that her father, uncle, and brother are all police detectives in departments around the city, agrees. "We'll find other places. This goes way beyond occupying a physical space—if the mayor thinks it is, he's wrong."
(Additional reporting by Bethany O'Grady)