Back to News & Commentary

Yesterday’s Occupy Wall Street Evacuation: Protecting Public Health or Endangering It?

Share This Page
November 16, 2011

Early yesterday morning, under Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s order, the New York Police Department expelled hundreds of Occupy Wall St. protestors from Zuccotti Park. Mayor Bloomberg asserted public health and safety reasons, but the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) disagrees.

In a statement released yesterday, NYCLU executive director Donna Lieberman said:

The eviction of protesters from Zuccotti Park was not about public health. Rousting hundreds of peaceful protesters from their tents in the dead of night amid a media blackout doesn’t promote public safety — it endangers it.

Lieberman added in a separate statement:

There is no reason why the Bloomberg administration cannot embrace a more expansive understanding of freedom of speech and allow the protesters and their tents back into Zuccotti Park in a way that is consistent with public safety and health. It should immediately do so.

[…]The NYCLU remains deeply concerned about the NYPD’s heavy-handed tactics during the overnight eviction of the park. At least seven journalists have been arrested for doing their job. We will work to ensure that police are held accountable for any misconduct. With or without tents, the Occupy Wall Street protests will continue for some time, and we expect the NYPD to adapt its practices to accommodate protest.

NYCLU legal observers continue to monitor police conduct at Occupy Wall St. If you’d like to share your story/experience of Occupy protest, email

Learn more about free speech: Sign up for breaking news alerts, follow us on Twitter, and like us on Facebook.