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Judge Halts Eviction of Occupy Wall St. -- Would Allow Protesters to Return With 'Belongings'

City to fight order at 11:30 am court appearance.

A judge has issued a temporary restraining order against the eviction of Zuccotti Park in New York City and the new rules imposed after the protesters were kicked out, the New York Times reports. The move will apparently allow protesters to return to the park and resume the occupation. The Times published a copy of the ruling.

A hearing over the issue is set to take place at 11:30 am ET.

During a live press conference this morning, NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg explained that the city will wait to receive the official ruling before re-opening the park. But he reiterated that he had always planned to do so.

However, he said that there will be some major changes -- amendments that the Occupiers will certainly dislike. "In the future protesters and the general public will be welcome...but will not be allowed to use tents, sleeping bags...," Bloomberg said.

But while the mayor claims that these rules will be instituted, the judge's ruling says that no regulations that were instituted after the occupation began can be enforced. This would mean that the tents and tarps could very easily re-emerge. Clearly, there's a disconnect.

A press release from the National Lawyers' Guild reiterates that possessions will be allowed:

New York, NY: At around 6 AM on November 15, 2011, attorneys associated with the New York City Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild working as the Liberty Park Legal Working Group obtained a temporary restraining order against the City of New York, various City agencies, and Brookfield properties directing that occupiers be allowed back on the premises with their belongings.

Earlier, at approximately 1 AM, the NYPD began massing around Zuccotti Park “aka Liberty Park.” In the following hours reports surfaced that the NYPD entered the park with police in riot gear backed up by numerous police vehicles, including a bulldozer, evicting occupiers. In the process they destroyed property and arrested dozens of occupiers and protestors including NYC Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez and District Leader Paul Newell.

In the coming hours, days and weeks the LPLWG will pursue all legal options to enable the occupiers to continue to exercise their first amendment rights to speech and assembly for speech. Attorney Yetta Kurland, one of the attorneys from the LPLWG, said, “This is a victory for everyone who believes in the First Amendment. We will continue to fight for everyone’s right to continue the occupation.” In response to the injunction, Daniel Alterman, also an attorney with the LPLWG, stated that, “This is a victory for all Americans, for the constitution and for the 99%.” Gideon Oliver, another attorney with the LPLWG reacted by saying, “The LPLWG has been fighting to ensure their right to free speech from day one of the occupation. The occupiers right to free speech is based in our most core legal principles and we will be here till the end to fight for those rights.”

NBCNewYork.com interprets the rules as being halted:

Hours later, a judge granted a temporary restraining order prohibiting the city from enforcing rules of the plaza that she said were published "after the occupation began." Bloomberg said at a City Hall briefing that the city had planned to let people back into the park at 8 a.m. but decided to keep it closed while officials evaluated the order.

Still, there seems to be much confusion on what the order means. The Times reports that not even those cleaning out the park are sure, and even let some protesters into the newly-cleaned are before telling them they had to leave again:

The park was declared to be open and about a dozen of the protesters who had stayed in the area through the night and the early morning were ushered past metal barricades and into the newly pristine expanse.

Two people who entered the park by vaulting over a low wall were directed by police officers back over the wall, but they were permitted to enter from the sidewalk.

However, after people had been in the park for about 10 mins, security guards working for Brookfield Properties announced that everyone had to leave. Some inside the park said that the guards pointed to an electrical wire lying on the ground and announced that there was a "maintenance issue."

During his address, the mayor also admitted that there have been threats to businesses, among other issues. "It had developed into a situation which was preventing people from expressing their views," he explained.

Bloomberg reported that there were "just under 200" arrests in and around Occupy Wall Street.

This is a breaking story. Updates will be added.

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