Business owner reports Occupy Wall Street threats

Ho Yip manager Hong Zhao, left, complained that too many Occupy Wall Street protesters are using his bathroom to bathe and change. Eric Lazarus, right, of OWS’s merchant relations committee, says he has limited control over rogue protesters.

A small group of business owners rallied in front of City Hall last night, decrying Occupy Wall Street protesters for threatening their livelihoods and their employees.

“They dropped our business down by 30 percent,” complained Panini & Co. owner Angelo Tzortzatos, one of the four business owners. He told Metro he had to close his bathroom for repairs after protesters broke his sink. Then, he said, protesters began threatening his employees when they couldn’t use the restroom.

“They’re coming in and grabbing [employees] and saying ‘Watch your back,’” Tzortzatos said. “I don’t feel safe.”

Ever since he heard about Panini & Co.’s plight, Astoria resident Jeremy Madden has been volunteering at the café once he’s finished with his 9-to-5 finance job, he said.

Chinese restaurant Ho Yip is losing business too, said manager Hong Zhao. Even worse, he says protesters are depositing bags of feces in his garbage, leaving Ho Yip on the hook for sanitation violations.

“They have been taking our bins and filling them with human waste,” Zhao said. “A lot of human waste.”

Occupy Wall Street protesters present at last night’s rally said they couldn’t possibly control the actions of everyone who identifies as a member.

“Certainly, someone may be putting feces in someone else’s garbage,” said Eric Lazarus, 50, of Occupy Wall Street. “We will do everything we can do to reduce this kind of behavior. We have somewhat limited control.”

OWS is planning to shut down the Stock Exchange at 7 a.m. Thursday and will take over the subways.

Follow Emily Anne Epstein on Twitter @EmilyatMetro.


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