The New York City Local

Occupy Wall Street protesters can stay in Zuccotti Park indefinitely, says Mayor Bloomberg

Local New York

NY Daily News


Reuven Blau, Lore Croghan AND Helen Kennedy, DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS

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Police officers stand near the encampment at Zuccotti Park, Oct 5, 2011. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)


Occupy Wall Street protesters can camp out in their downtown park indefinitely - or until rain and snow drives them out, Mayor Bloomberg said Monday.

"The bottom line is people want to express themselves. And as long as they obey the laws, we will allow them to," Bloomberg said.

"I think part of it probably has to do with the weather."

It was a change from last week, when Bloomberg suggested that it was only a matter of time before the city put an end to the encampment in Zuccotti Park near the Stock Exchange.

Bloomberg has stressed that New York prides itself on allowing demonstrations, but he has not hidden his disdain for the protesters he says are threatening the city's tax base and "trying to destroy the jobs of working people."

The mayor repeated Monday, "If they break the laws, then we are going to do what we are supposed to do: enforce the laws."

After bad press generated by videotapes of cops being heavy-handed, the NYPD appeared to be cracking down on photographers Monday at the Occupy Wall Street protest.

At least three people were arrested by noon in the Financial District's Zuccotti Square - two of them with cameras.

Before he was taken away, Romanian freelance photographer Laurentiu Garofeanu, 33, told the Daily News he was working for a British press agency.

"I was taking pictures for my work," said. "They grabbed me and twisted my arm, and forced me against a light pole."

Another detainee, Nathaniel Putney, 20, of Richmond, Va., said he was nabbed while taking pictures of police badge numbers.

"They pushed me down and ripped my camera from me. The camera's broken," Putney said.

The two men were loaded into a police car and taken away as a crowd of protesters chanted "Shame! Shame! Shame! Shame!"

Earlier, cops arrested a young woman who had drawn a pink chalk line on the sidewalk. She yelled her name out to the crowd as

Rachel McMurray as she was led away.

Someone tossed her a pen and shouted the phone number of the National Lawyers Guild. She wrote it on her arm.

Protester Trevor Roulstin said McMurray drew the chalk line to show other protestors where the police wanted them to stand so they wouldn't block pedestrian traffic.

On Day 24 of the leaderless, inchoate protest against income inequality and corporate greed, the grassroots movement showed no sign of slowing its growth.

Solidarity protests have popped up in more than 1,000 communities around the country and abroad.

On Monday, Occupy Wall Street set a new date for a major demonstration: Saturday Oct. 15, which they are calling a global "Day of Action against Banks."

Occupy London plans to march on the British stock exchange and Occupy Las Vegas - which starts its marches in front of the New York New York casino in homage - plans to begin to "occupy" the Strip.

Meanwhile, it was a good day on the Stock Exchange Monday with the Dow up 250 points - despite threats from computer hackers to "erase" the Exchange from the Internet.

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