NY Judge Rules Against Occupy Wall Street Protesters

Posted November 15th, 2011 at 7:00 pm (UTC-5)
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A New York State Supreme Court judge has rejected a bid by Occupy Wall Street protesters to return with their tents to a Manhattan park they had been evicted from earlier Tuesday.

Judge Michael Stallman denied a motion by the demonstrators who sought to be allowed back into the park with their tents and sleeping bags. In his ruling, the judge said the health and safety concerns cited by the city permitted a ban on those items in Zuccotti Park.

The decision followed an earlier ruling that put a temporary stay on the city's decision to ban the protesters from returning to the park with their belongings.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg told reporters that protesters should be able to continue demonstrating in the park, but not to live there. The mayor cited what he said were health and safety hazards.

The mayor has said just under 200 people were arrested in the early-morning action, when a large team of police officers wearing helmets and carrying shields forced hundreds of protesters to evacuate. Workers then tore down temporary dwellings and hauled away trash from what had become a tent city.

The Occupy Wall Street protest began in Zuccotti Park September 17 with a small group of activists seeking to focus attention on what they see as corporate greed and the increasing gap between the rich and poor across the globe.

The protests have faced a rising number of complaints by local residents and business owners who say the demonstrators have a negative impact on the neighborhood and small businesses. Police say most of the protesters left the park peacefully.

The Occupy Wall Street movement has gathered momentum and spawned similar protests in outdoor parks and squares in major cities across the United States as well as in other countries. Recently, however, police have been clearing encampments in areas such as Oakland, California and Portland, Oregon.