The group which has been camping out in lower Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park for more than three weeks is trying to preempt the cleaning of the park that is scheduled for Friday.
“They’re going to use the cleanup to get us out of here,” said 25-year-old Justin Wedes. “It’s a de facto eviction notice.”
Occupy Wall Street is vowing to stay in the park and says they will try to prevent the cleaning crews from entering.
“Friday morning, we’ll awake and position ourselves with our brooms and mops in a human chain around the park, linked at the arms,” the group posted on its Facebook page. “If NYPD attempts to enter, we’ll peacefully, non-violently stand our ground, and those who are willing will get arrested.”
In a statement on Wednesday, Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway said the protest, “created unsanitary conditions and considerable wear and tear on the park.” He explained that Brookfield Properties, the real estate company that owns the park, asked for police assistance to empty the park in order for it to be cleaned.
According to a notice from Brookfield Properties the cleaning is scheduled to begin at 7 a.m. on Friday.
The owners of the park have informed protesters that following the cleaning, rules against camping, the erection of tents or other structures, placing tarps or sleeping bags on the ground, lying on the ground or on benches would be enforced.
While the movement appears to be united in its desire to stay in the park, Occupy Wall Street remains leaderless without an organized message or list of demands.
On the Late Show with David Letterman, Wednesday night, former president Bill Clinton said it’s time they took a proactive position.
“I think on balance this is going to be a positive thing, but they’re going to have to transfer energies at some point to making some specific suggestions,” he said. “They need to be for something specific and not just against something because if you’re just against something, somebody else will fill the vacuum you create.”
In a blog posted on his website, Clinton’s former vice president Al Gore expressed his support.
“Count me among those supporting and cheering on the Occupy Wall Street movement,” he wrote.
Cititgroup CEO Vikram Pandit said he understands why the protesters are frustrated.
“Trust has been broken between financial institutions and the citizens of the U.S., and that is Wall Street’s job, to reach out to Main Street and rebuild that trust,” Pandit said on Wednesday according to Businessweek.
Pandit even offered to speak with the demonstrators.
“I’d talk about the fact that they should hold Citi and the financial institutions accountable for practicing responsible finance,” said Pandit. “I’d be happy to talk to them any time they want to come up.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.