The eviction process started almost immediately after the fliers were handed out, according to a timeline provided OccupyWallStreet.org. Those that refused to leave by 3AM proceeded to be arrested one by one from their human barricade.
The press was banned, with even CBS helicopters asked to leave the airspace. MotherJones reporter, Josh Harkinson, who slipped into the Park before being physically removed by an officer, reports widespread police use of pepper spray and zip ties. Upon their return after the cleaning, the City says that protestors will not be allowed to erect tents or have encampment structures of any kind.
Due to the lack of notice and quick eviction and arrests of those refusing to leave, many personal and public belongings, [edit: blogs are correcting themselves that the Library has NOT been destroyed], have been thrown into dumpsters by the NYPD during the forced cleaning.
This morning, 200 supporters of the protesters attempted to come onto the scene. They were prevented from getting within a block of the park by a police barricade.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who scheduled a news conference for Tuesday morning, had issued a statement explaining the reasoning behind the sweep. “The law that created Zuccotti Park required that it be open for the public to enjoy for passive recreation 24 hours a day,” the mayor said in the statement. “Every since the occupation began, that law has not been complied with” because the protesters had taken over the park, “making it unavailable to anyone else.”
“I have become increasingly concerned – as had the park’s owner, Brookfield Properties – that the occupation was coming to pose a health and fire safety hazard to the protestors and to the surrounding community,” Mr. Bloomberg said. He added that on Monday, Brookfield asked the city to assist in enforcing “the no sleeping and camping rules.”
“But make no mistake,” the mayor said, “the final decision to act was mine and mine alone.”
This morning the National Lawyers Guild obtained a temporary restraining order from the court, allowing protestors to return with tents to the park. Reports are coming in that hearing will be held with the state Supreme Court later today on whether or not the temporary restraining order is maintained.
Read the press statement from the NLG and a copy of the “Order to Show Cause and Temporary Restraining Order” at The Gothamist.
I will update later today as this pans out.