Currents News Staff
Protesters are no longer “occupying” City Hall Park. Early Wednesday morning police cleared out the park where protesters have been camped out for weeks and started cleaning up what they left behind.
City sanitation workers spent the day cleaning up the park and removing the anti-police graffiti that’s covered the sidewalks. Protesters set up camp in the park some three weeks ago. They have also been cleared out.
“We are horrified by what we see here,” said protestor Taylor Banning.
Taylor didn’t camp there, but did join the protests. She called it disturbing that the NYPD showed up at 3:00am and forced the protesters to leave.
“This is a disrespect to black lives, a disrespect to the movement, to every single person who’s been out here showing love, showing protest, showing freedom to assemble,” she said.
The so called “Occupy City Hall” protesters assembled here, calling for the police to be defunded. Mayor Bill de Blasio says over the last few weeks the gathering got smaller, with fewer protesters and more homeless people.
“We do always respect the right to protest but we have to think about health and safety first and the health and safety issues were growing… so it was time to take action,” said de Blasio.
The mayor was asked about the slow response in removing the anti-police graffiti here, but quick response to cleaning up the vandalized Black Lives Matter murals.
“Each situation is different and this was a particularly complex situation down here. Look, I made very clear that graffiti on those public buildings in this area is being cleaned up right now as we speak it’s not acceptable it will be gone,” de Blasio continued.
Police Commissioner Dermot Shea says he couldn’t be happier with how his cops responded overnight, with no injuries and no real use of force.
“A number of individuals did not want to leave,” he said. “The result was one arrest for attempted assault when a brick was thrown at an officer. Luckily that officer had a shield and I’m told it left a dent in that shield, but nobody was injured.”
The clean-up could take several weeks, and the mayor says Homeless Services has been making efforts to get those who were in the park and are homeless into shelters.