NEW YORK (The Blaze/AP) -- A New York judge has upheld the city's dismantling of the Occupy Wall Street encampment, saying that the protesters' first amendment rights don't entitle them to camp out indefinitely in the plaza.
Supreme Court Justice Michael Stallman on Tuesday denied a motion by the demonstrators seeking to be allowed back into the park with their tents and sleeping bags.
The New York Times has quotes from the ruling:
"The court is mindful of movants' First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and peaceable assembly." But he added, quoting from another case, "Even protected speech is not equally permissible in all places and at all times." He said that the protesters "had not demonstrated that the rules adopted by the owners of the property, concededly after the demonstrations began, are not reasonable time place and manner restrictions permitted under the First Amendment."
Police cleared out the protesters in a nighttime sweep early Tuesday. The judge upheld the city's effective eviction of the protesters after an emergency appeal by the National Lawyers Guild.
The protesters have been camped out in privately owned Zuccotti Park since mid-September. Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he ordered the sweep because health and safety conditions and become "intolerable" in the crowded plaza.
Read the entire ruling.
Shortly after the ruling, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg weighed in, releasing the following statement on the re-opening of Zuccotti Park:
“This morning we planned to re-open Zuccotti Park to the public, including any protestors, at approximately 8:00 AM when the cleaning was completed. The opening of the park was delayed due to legal action taken against the City, but Zuccotti Park is now open to the public. The court’s ruling vindicates our position that First Amendment rights do not include the right to endanger the public or infringe on the rights of others by taking over a public space with tents and tarps. The City has the ultimate responsibility to protect public health and safety and we will continue to ensure that everyone can express themselves in New York City. Zuccotti Park will remain open to all who want to enjoy it, as long as they abide by the park’s rules.”