Twitter is buzzing with reports that Mayor Bloomberg just took a tour of Zuccotti Park—possibly to tell the protestors he's sending in the cleaning crews, but they would be allowed to return after the cleaning is done.
: One protester asked Mayor Bloomberg if Liberty Square could get a permit for amplification equipment. He said no. #ows
@RDevro: One onlooker yells to Bloomberg, "About time." Another says, "Get that man a plate of food." #ows
@CityHallNews: @MikeBloomberg went to Zuccotti Park today to tell #OWS protesters the park would be cleaned [Friday], but that they would be allowed to return
@mgouldwartofsky: Mayor #Bloomberg greeted with chants, jeers, Bronx cheers. "Whose money? Our money." "Whose city? Our city." "Whose park? Our park." #OWS
Mayor Bloomberg isn't the only celebrity coming by this week— tomorrow at noon Tom Morello from Rage Against the Machine is slated to play perform for the demonstrators.
Update: Azi Paybarah reports that Brookfield Properties, which owns the public plaza, asked NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly for some help because they really want to clean up Zuccotti Park; check out the letter below. Also, Brookfield Properties is concerned about the Occupiers' many packages (which aren't being screened) and apparently lawless behavior, which ranges from—per the letter—lewdness, groping, drinking, drug use and, in one case, verbally abusing a woman in front of her 5-year-old child and also stealing the woman's package.
Update: Now the city has issued an official statement, from Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway:
"Earlier this evening, Mayor Bloomberg went to Zuccotti Park to talk with the protesters himself and inform them that on Friday morning Brookfield Properties will clean the park.
"Brookfield Properties owns Zuccotti Park, and built it as an amenity for the general public. As the protest has continued, Brookfield has expressed concern about its inability to clean the park and maintain it in a condition fit for public use. Brookfield conveyed these concerns in a letter they sent to the City.
"The Mayor is a strong believer in the First Amendment and believes that the protesters have a right to continue to protest. At the same time, the last three weeks have created unsanitary conditions and considerable wear and tear on the park. This situation is not in the best interests of the protesters, residents or the City.
"The cleaning will be done in stages and the protesters will be able to return to the areas that have been cleaned, provided they abide by the rules that Brookfield has established for the park."