US court upholds eviction of Wall Street protesters
The ruling came hours after at least 200 protesters at the park in Lower Manhattan were arrested in police raid yesterday, ending the two-month long encampment.world Updated: Nov 16, 2011 08:03 IST
Upholding the eviction of Occupy Wall Street protesters from Zuccotti park, ground zero of the movement, a New York Supreme Court has said authorities can stop demonstrators from returning to the site of the protests with their tents.
The ruling came hours after at least 200 protesters at the park in Lower Manhattan were arrested in police raid yesterday, ending the two-month long encampment.
A federal judge ruled in favour of the city saying authorities can stop demonstrators from returning to the site.
Justice Michael Stallman of state Supreme Court ruled late yesterday against the protesters saying they could go into Zuccotti Park but without their tents and sleeping bags.
In the four-page ruling Stallman said the protesters "have not demonstrated that they have a First Amendment right to remain in Zuccotti Park, along with their tents, structures, generators and other installations" to the exclusion of the landlord or "others who might wish to use the space safely."
The judge said that the city could block protesters from returning to the park and set up overnight encampments there, upholding a move by New York City and the landlord of the privately owned plaza.
New York Mayor Micheal Bloomberg had justified the raid saying "unfortunately" the park was becoming a place where people came not to protest, but to break laws and harm others and the occupation was posing a "health and fire safety hazard to the protesters and to the surrounding community."
Sheryl Neufeld, a lawyer for the city, said the tents and other structures like generators as well as concerns about sanitation and waste, made the encampment a fire and safety hazard. She said the tightness of the encampment would make evacuation difficult in case of a fire.
The city late in the evening reopened the park allowing a single file of people to walk in.
About 200 people were arrested in the raid and charged with disorderly conduct and with resisting arrest. The tents and sleeping bags that were strewn across the park were hauled away to a city garage facility.
At least four journalists, who followed the protesters to a nearby protest site were also led out in handcuffs, including a reporter and photographer for The Associated Press and a reporter from The Daily News.