Anti-Wall Street protesters cheer at Manhattan park clean-up delay
Friday 14 October 2011
Authorities in New York City have postponed the clean-up of a Manhattan park where anti-Wall Street protesters have been camped out for a month.
The announcement prompted cheers from a crowd that had feared they would be evicted.
Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway said the owners of the private park, Brookfield Office Properties, had put off the cleaning.
Supporters of the protesters had started streaming into the park early today, creating a crowd of up to 700 chanting people.
A confrontation between police and protesters, who had vowed to stay put through civil disobedience, had been feared.
Protesters began discussing whether to make an immediate march to Wall Street, a few blocks away.
Brookfield believes it can work out an arrangement with the protesters that "will ensure the park remains clean, safe, available for public use," a statement from the deputy mayor said.
Brookfield, a property firm, had called the conditions at the park unsanitary and unsafe. It had planned to power-wash the plaza over 12 hours and allow the protesters back, but without the equipment they needed to sleep and camp there.
In a last-ditch bid to stay, protesters had mopped and picked up rubbish.
The Occupy Wall Street protests have inspired similar demonstrations across the country and become an issue in the Republican presidential primary race. Protests are also planned on Saturday in dozens of cities around the world.
The protesters' demands are wide-ranging, but they are united in blaming Wall Street and corporate interests for the economic pain they say all but the wealthiest Americans have endured since the financial meltdown.
The situation was tense near Colorado's state Capitol early today, where hundreds of Occupy Denver protesters had been told to clear out or risk arrest.
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