Following a triumphant return to Zuccotti Park on New Year’s Eve, Occupy Wall Street protesters decided to reclaim the movement’s birthplace earlier this week. On January 10, about 300 calm but celebratory protesters entered New York City’s Zuccotti Park just a few hours after news spread that the metal barricades were coming down.
Watch the protesters re-enter the park in this AP video:
According to CSB News, the barricades, which Mayor Bloomberg and the NYPD claimed were put in place to protect the park, were removed after the City received complaints about their appearance. A spokesperson for the NYPD and Brookfield Office Properties claims that the barricades were removed because they were no longer deemed necessary.
A Brookfield employee who refused to give his name told an Associated Press reporter: “The barriers are down, but the other rules are the same.”
As OWS supporters trickled back into the park, observers say the mood was peaceful, with many sharing food, playing chess, or recreating in the public space designed for just such a purpose. Some tried to erect tents, the symbol of many public occupations, but they were quickly dismantled by watchful police officers.
So far, only three protesters have been arrested for trying to sleep in the park.
Many thought the November 15th police raid on the OWS encampment in Zuccotti Park would be the end of the movement, but its members have simply found other, more creative ways to continue their fight against corporate greed and political corruption.
“We were recovering,” Occupier Felix Rivera-Pitre told NY Daily News about the movement’s low profile in recent months since the NYPD stormed the park evicted everyone. “Everything we had was lost during the raid.”
There is nothing on the official Occupy Wall Street website to indicate if the protesters intend to remain in the park permanently.