View on Flickr BACKGROUND Before OWS protestors moved to the steps of Federal Hall on Monday last, they had been sleeping on the streets in the vicinity of Wall Street. The NYPD hadn't intervened over the past few weeks, but OWS protestors say the police started making arrests and harrassing them over the past week - although protestors claim a New York State Supreme Court ruling made on behalf of a homeless organization allows them to sleep on the streets.
Abruptly at 5 p.m. the National Park Service [police], which has jurisdiction over the steps, abruptly issued OWS protestors the federal rules. Although the federal rules allow them to 'occupy' the steps 24/7 without a permit, they limit the number of protestors to 25, as well as the size of placards. Noise above 16 decibels after 8 p.m. is also forbidden. No sleeping on the steps is allowed. The protests dwindled overnight to approximately four.
By 6 p.m. the sidewalk facing Federal Hall had been cleared by the NYPD, leaving remaining OWS protestors penned in and surrounded by an estimated 80 cops, including a SWAT team and federal police. While the stand-off was tense, no arrests were made.
- Gerard Flynn, 4/23