Transcript for Bloomberg: 'Final Decision' for Occupy Wall Street
In the future protesters and the general public will be welcome there to exercise their first amendment rights rights and otherwise enjoy the park. But will not be allowed to use tents sleeping bags or tarps and going forward must follow all park rules. The law that created -- -- park require that it be open for the public to enjoy for passive recreation 24 hours today. Ever since the occupation began that law has not been complied with. As the park has been taken over -- protest is making it unavailable to anyone else. From the beginning I've said that the city has two principal goals. Guaranteeing public health and safety and guaranteeing the protest is first amendment rights. But when those two goals clash the health and safety of the public and our first responders. Must be the priority. And that is why several weeks ago the city acted to remove generators. And fuel that posed a fire hazard from the park. Over time I've become increasingly concerned as had the -- of the park Brookfield properties. -- the occupation must coming to pose a health and fire safety hazard to the protest is an -- -- the surrounding community. We had been in Constant Contact with Brookfield. And yesterday they requested that the city assisted in enforcing the no sleeping in camping rules in the park. But make no mistake the final decision to act was mine and mine alone. The park has become covered in tents and -- making it next to impossible to safely navigate for the public. And for first responders who are responsible for guaranteeing public safety. The dangers posed were evident last week when an EMT was injured as protesters attempted to prevent him and several police offices. From helping a mentally ill man who was menacing others. As an increasing number of large tents and other structures were erected these -- increase. It is become increasingly difficult even to monitor activity in the park to protect the protesters and the public. And the perforation of -- and other obstructions created an increasing fire hazard that had to be addressed. -- some -- argued to allow the process is to stay in the park indefinitely. Others had suggested that we just wait for winter and hope the cold weather drove the protesters away. But in action was not an option. We could not wait for someone in the park to get killed or to injure another first responded before acting. Others have cautioned against action because enforcing our laws might be used by some protesters as a pretext for violence. But we must never be afraid to insist on compliance with our laws. Unfortunately the park was becoming a place where people came not to protest. But rather to break laws and in some cases to harm others. There have been reports of business is being threatened and complaints about noise and unsanitary conditions. That have seriously impact of the quality of life for residents and businesses in this now thriving neighborhood. The majority of protesters have been peaceful and responsible. But an unfortunate minority has not been and has the number of protesters has -- this has created an intolerable situation. No right is absolute and with every right comes responsibility. The First Amendment gives every new Yorker the right to speak out. But it does not give anyone the right to sleep in a park or otherwise take it over. To the exclusion of -- nor does it permit anyone in our society to live outside the law. There is no ambiguity in the law here. The First Amendment protects speech -- does not protect the use of tents and sleeping bags to take over a public space. Protesters have had two months to occupy the park with tents and sleeping bags. Now they won't have to -- to occupy the space with the power of their arguments.
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