A court hearing was held Tuesday following the early morning eviction of Occupy Wall Street protesters from Zuccotti Park, but a judge ultimately ruled against the rights of protesters to camp in the Lower Manhattan space.
Lawyers representing Occupy Wall Street argued before New York State Supreme Court Justice Michael Stallman that protesters were wrongfully removed from the space by police. They also said that the sleeping bags and tents demonstrators used prior to their eviction from Zuccotti Park were tools to help them exercise their First Amendment rights.
However, lawyers representing the city and Brookfield Properties, the owner of Zuccotti Park, argued that those tents were a safety hazard and turned the space into a fire trap.
The judge ruled that though the protesters can stage demonstrations in the park, they may not bring in their tents.
Occupy Wall Street attorneys Alan Levine and Yetta Kurland were frustrated by the decision.
“That right has along with it the attendant right to be protected from the elements. And since the city has no real reason to prevent people from bringing in sleeping bags and tents, constitutional rights ought to prevail,” said Levine. “Unfortunately, the judge disagreed.”
“This has not stopped the movement. As we said earlier, win, lose or draw, the 99 percent will continue to show up, will continue to express themselves, and will continue to move forward in social change,” said Kurland.
Douglas Flaum, an attorney for Brookfield Properties, said Zuccotti Park is open to the public but privately owned and applauded the judge’s decision.
“We recognize that the rules Brookfield has put in place are ones that are necessary to ensure a clean, sanitary and publicly accessible Zuccotti Park for all,” said Flaum.
Lawyers for Occupy Wall Street said they will regroup and plan for their next move while protesters continue to voice their disapproval.