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Dublin: 5 °C Tuesday 18 February, 2020
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Occupy protesters allowed return to Zuccotti Park

The activists have received a court order allowing them to return to the park from which they were evicted in the early hours of this morning.

Occupy Wall Street protesters are pushed by police near the encampment at Zuccotti Park in New York, earlier today
Occupy Wall Street protesters are pushed by police near the encampment at Zuccotti Park in New York, earlier today
Image: Mary Altaffer/AP/Press Association Images

HOURS AFTER THEY were removed from Zuccotti Park, Occupy Wall Street protesters have received a court order allowing them to return to the area.

Hundreds of police officers in riot gear raided Zuccotti Park early this morning, evicting dozens of Occupy Wall Street protesters from what has become the epicenter of the worldwide movement protesting corporate greed and economic inequality.

In a post on the official Occupy Wall Street website, the members said they were reconvening this morning.

We are appalled, but not deterred. Liberty Square was dispersed, but its spirit not defeated. Today we are stronger than we were yesterday. Tomorrow we will be stronger still. We are breaking free of the fear that constricts and confines us. We occupy to liberate.
…Occupy Wall Street has renewed a sense of hope. It has revived a belief in community and awakened a revolutionary spirit too long silenced. Join us as we liberate space and build a movement.

Hours after the raid, the National Lawyers Guild obtained a court order allowing Occupy Wall Street protesters to return with tents to the park.

The guild said the injunction prevents the city from enforcing park rules on Occupy Wall Street protesters.

At a news conference at City Hall, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the city knew about the court order but had not seen it and would go to court to fight it.

He said the city wants to protect people’s rights, but if a choice must be made, it will protect public safety.

About 70 people were arrested overnight, including some who chained themselves together, while officers cleared the park so that sanitation crews could clean it.

By 9 am, the park was power-washed clean and police in riot gear still ringed the public space, waiting for orders to reopen it.

The city told protesters at the two-month-old encampment they could come back after the cleaning, but under new tougher rules, including no tents, sleeping bags or tarps, which would effectively put an end to the encampment if enforced.

Bloomberg said the evacuation was conducted in the middle of the night “to reduce the risk of confrontation in the park, and to minimize disruption to the surrounding neighborhood.”

Hundreds of former Zuccotti Park residents and their supporters marched along Lower Manhattan before dawn Tuesday.

A live stream of the event is available here and shows activists heading back towards the park.

- Additional reporting by AP

Read: Occupy Wall Street protesters forced out of Zucotti Park in New York>

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