Occupy Wall Street: City officials across U.S. grow impatient
Occupy Wall Street may continue its encampment in New York -- for now -- officials said, and protesters at Zuccotti Park cheered and breathed a sigh of relief. But across the U.S., there's evidence that authorities' patience with the anti-corporate-greed protests is wearing thin.
Times reporter Tina Susman, on the scene in New York, documented the protesters' elation early Friday morning. But even with the reprieve, officials in New York are on standby: "Our position has been consistent throughout: The city's role is to protect public health and safety, to enforce the law, and guarantee the rights of all New Yorkers," Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway said in a statement.
Meanwhile in Denver, hundreds of protesters were told Thursday to clear out of their encampment near the state Capitol or risk being arrested. Police in riot gear moved on protesters Friday morning, arresting about two dozen and tearing down their tents. Protesters in Trenton, N.J., have been ordered to remove tents they erected near a war memorial.
In San Diego on Friday morning, police began to arrest protesters who refused to remove their tents and other property from the plaza behind City Hall.
Protests in Los Angeles, however, have been relatively peaceful, not approaching the scale of civil disobedience seen in New York. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa went so far as to hand out rain ponchos to protesters.
In New York, the AP reported Friday, there were reports of a handful of arrests. In one case, a police scooter hit a protester, who fell to the ground and screamed before kicking the scooter over to free his foot; he was then arrested.
What's ahead for the protesters? As Times business columnist Michael Hiltzik wrote:
Moving from protest to policy is the hardest leap that grass-roots organizations face, akin to turning a promising patent into a billion-dollar business. Occupy Wall Street is just now entering that very difficult, and very interesting, phase.
-- Amy Hubbard
Photo: Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said Thursday that anti-Wall Street protesters near the state Capitol must tear down their tent camp. Credit: Ed Andrieski / Associated Press