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Judge tells Occupy Wall Street: You can't sleep in Zuccotti Park anymore

A New York State judge ruled Tuesday that OWS protesters can return to Zuccotti Park – but not with their tents, tarps and generators. Does this mean the Occupy movement is dead?

An Occupy Wall Street demonstrator smiles while holding a sign after being allowed back into Zuccotti Park near Wall Street in New York Tuesday. A judge upheld New York City's legal justification for evicting Occupy Wall Street protesters from the park on Tuesday when police in riot gear broke up a two-month-old demonstration against economic inequality.

Shannon Stapleton/REUTERS

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It looks as if the Occupy Wall Street protesters will have to bundle up real good this winter.

A New York State judge has ruled that they can return to Zuccotti Park to protest – but not with their tents, tarps and generators. In short, protest, yes. Occupy, only with mittens on.

The decision by New York State Judge Michael Stallman is a victory for New York City, which had shut down the tent city at 1 am on Tuesday. The protesters’ lawyers had argued they had a constitutional right to assemble on the site and part of that assemblage included a 24 hour occupation.

However, Judge Stallman, after hearing oral arguments, ruled that the owners of Zuccotti Park had the legal right to set rules for the use of the park. Brookfield Properties rules – enacted after the occupation began – outlawed camping, the use of tents, tarps and sleeping bags.

The protesters “have not demonstrated they have a First Amendment right to remain in Zuccotti Park, along with their tents, structures, generators, and other installations to the exclusion of the owners’s reasonable rights and duties to maintain Zuccotti Park, or to the rights to public access of others who might wish to use the space safely,” wrote Stallman.

Does this mean the Occupy movement is dead?

“The battle for Zuccotti Park is far from over,” says Randy Mastro, a former deputy mayor under Rudy Giuliani and a lawyer at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher in New York. “I have no doubt the protesters will seek to appeal.”


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