Occupy Wall Street protesters will not be allowed to bring their sleeping bags back into Zuccotti Park after they leave for a city-ordered cleanup of the premises Friday morning, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said Thursday.
Mayor Bloomberg appeared at the park Wednesday evening to inform protesters that cleaning crews will be dispatched there at the end of the week.
Kelly said cleanup crews will enter the park at about 7 a.m. Friday and the clean-up process will take place in four-hour intervals.
He also said protesters will not be able to bring their sleeping bags, among other items, into the park once they are allowed back in, which may hamper their ability to weather the elements amid an anticipated cold front expected to roll through the area.
Brookfield Properties, which owns the park property, distributed letters to protesters describing some of the new guidelines.
- Camping and/or the erection of tents or other structures;
- Lying down on the ground or lying down on benches, sitting areas or walkways, which unreasonably interferes with the use of benches, sitting areas or walkways by others;
- The placement of tarps or sleeping bags or other covering on the property;
- Storage or placement of personal property on the ground, benches, sitting areas or walkways which unreasonably interferes with the use of such areas by others;
- The use of bicycles, skateboards and roller blades; and
- Removal of objects from trash receptacles.
As a steady drizzle fell Thursday over the park confusion was high over when the protesters will be ordered out -- and where they'll go during the evacuation.
"The cleanup is a pretext to remove us from the camp. And we can return only if we abide by the rules of Brookfield Properties,'' said Justin Wedes, 25, a public high school science teacher from Brooklyn who was sweeping the pavement with others. "We're redoubling our efforts today.''
Brookfield did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the cleanup.
After a group meeting Thursday, Occupy Wall Street vowed to clean up the park themselves, obviating the need for professional cleaners to come in and force the protesters out.
"Then, Friday morning, we'll awake and position ourselves with our brooms and mops in a human chain around the park, linked at the arms. If NYPD attempts to enter, we'll peacefully/non-violently stand our ground and those who are willing will get arrested,"
Then, protesters plan to march with their brooms and mops to Wall Street to march.