It's not just protesters who are furious with Mayor Michael Bloomberg's decision to clear out Zuccotti Park today. Elected officials from Harlem to Brooklyn are calling the move "sneaky" and "legally questionable."
"Given the NYPD's sneaky tactics early on, I am not surprised by the NYPD's efforts to use the cloak of night as a shield for their brazen violation of the First Amendment," said Brooklyn Councilman Jumaane Williams, who was at Zuccotti Park this morning for the eviction. "I expected this would happen; I just did not know when."
Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, who represents Northern Manhattan, was arrested early this morning near Zuccotti Park. He is currently being held in Central Booking, according to his communications director.
"Mayor Bloomberg made a needlessly provocative and legally questionable decision to clear Zuccotti Park in the dead of night," said Public Advocate Bill de Blasio this morning. "That some media and observers were prevented from monitoring the action is deeply troubling. "Provocations under cover of darkness only escalate tensions in a situation."
Bloomberg said the decision to evict the protesters was his and his alone, although he made the call after complaints from nearby business owners and Brookfield. Bloomberg was supposed to be in Washington, D.C. today but just moments ago announced he canceled the trip and will remain in New York City.
Bloomberg defended his decision earlier today:
“Some have argued to allow the protestors to stay in the park indefinitely – others have suggested we just wait for winter and hope the cold weather drove the protestors away – but inaction was not an option. I could not wait for someone in the park to get killed or to injure another first responder before acting," he said, referring to an EMT who was injured last week while removing a mentally ill man from the park. "We must never be afraid to insist on compliance with our laws."