As we all know by now, Mayor Bloomberg blinked and the “cleaning” of Zuccotti Park was postponed. Allison Kilkenny writes at The Nation blog:
Brookfield Properties, the owner of Liberty Park, which had planned to schedule a cleaning of the property where protesters have been camped out these past weeks, cancelled its maintenance plans suddenly last night to the surprise of many.
Reportedly, Brookfield handed down the decision to the city late Thursday, though the announcement didn’t reach Liberty until Friday morning when two thousand activists erupted in cheers as they huddled at the center of the camp. I’m sure Brookfield and the Mayor will stick with the story that this decision was made late last night, but the presence of thousands of determined occupiers probably sealed the deal if there was any indecision left in the board room.
Confused murmurs served as a prelude to celebrations – a haze of disbelief best articulated by a fellow reporter, who stumbled from the surging crowd to exclaim, “We don’t WIN! We’re the ones who get the shit kicked out of us!”
This was the first protest I’ve ever covered where the activists won – if only a battle, and not the war, and if only temporarily. And the victory is definitely temporary. Major problems have not been resolved and large questions remain: Will the protesters be able to bring their sleeping bags back into Liberty Park? Will they be able to sleep on the ground? Fourteen hours ago, Mayor Bloomberg declared protesters wouldn’t be able to return their gear to the park, and now the decree came down to postpone the cleaning entirely. Why the change of tune?
Considering the sorts of electronic images that would have been instantly transmitted to the rest of the world had a bunch of NYPD riot cops tried to evict 5000 committed citizens from Zuccotti Park this morning, Mayor Bloomberg dodged a seriously stupid bullet that he was threatening to shoot into his own foot.
This is an important victory. It shows you that they’re afraid and it also shows you the limits of what they think they can get away with.
You can see the jubilant moment when the news was announced early this morning, in the video below.