Occupy Wall Street protesters are expected to hold rallies in New York City and other parts of the United States Thursday, two months after the movement’s beginning in a Manhattan park.
The protest began in Zuccotti Park on September 17 with a small group seeking to focus attention on what it considered to be corporate greed and the increasing gap between the rich and poor across the globe. Protests have since spread to other cities across the United States and the world. Zuccotti Park is considered the epicenter of the global movement.
This past Tuesday, a New York State Supreme Court judge rejected a bid by protesters to return to the park they had been evicted from with their tents, sleeping bags and other belongings. Judge Michael Stallman said the health and safety concerns cited by the city permitted a ban on those items in the park. He said the protesters’ constitutional right to free speech was not violated by the park’s sleeping ban.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he agreed with the judge’s decision that free speech does not include the right to “endanger the public or infringe on the rights of others by taking over a public space.”
Police also cleared encampments in areas such as Oakland, California and Portland, Oregon.