For the past four nights, protesters affiliated with Occupy Wall Street have camped out on sidewalks near the New York Stock Exchange, sleeping outside banks and handing out literature to financial district workers by day. Why hasn't the NYPD swept in and crushed this dangerous nonviolent political demonstration? It seems Bloomberg's army may be stymied (for now, at least) by a 2000 court ruling upholding protesters' right to sleep on the sidewalk for political purposes, provided they don't take up more than half the sidewalk.

Justin Wedes, a spokesperson for Occupy Wall Street, tells us, "We are bringing the truth about inequity in this country to the belly of the beast, so that the 1%—and the many 99%'ers—who live and work on Wall Street can see what Wall Street's agenda of greed and corruption has done to Main Street." Last night, according to a new @SleepOnWallSt Twitter feed, over 80 demonstrators spent the night on the sidewalk on Wall Street and Nassau Street. In a video interview, one demonstrator explained further:

What we're doing here is kind of a complete return to what we originally planned on doing [at Zuccotti Park]. Union Square was kind of a healing process because we were beaten up and sick of Wall Street. We're still sick of Wall Street. We can handle it in small doses, but now we're back on Wall Street. This time we're not committing any form of civil disobedience, we're in full compliance with the law, we're not disorderly in any way, we're just providing silent messages. And it's a really interesting phenomenon. We'll eventually spread out to all of Wall Street. I kind of think of it like we're a tumor and we're going to keep growing and growing, in a cancerous sense... Of course, capitalism's the real cancer.

As the "Sleep on Wall Street" cancer spreads to the surrounding area in the Spring weather, it will be interesting to see how Bloomberg and NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly react. After all, the NYPD has no problem acting extra-judicially to stifle dissent and dealing with the fallout in court later. If they lose, the City can always just cut a check to settle any pesky lawsuits! But down in DC, Occupy protesters camping outside banks have already been dragged off in handcuffs for engaging in "sleepful protest."