November 15, 2011 — In response to a ruling from the bench that denies protesters the ability to camp overnight in Zuccotti Park, New York Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Donna Lieberman issued the following statement:
“While we’re disappointed, it is important to remember that the First Amendment sets a floor – not a ceiling – for determining whether the government should accommodate free expression. There is no reason why the Bloomberg administration cannot embrace a more expansive understanding of freedom of speech and allow the protesters and their tents back into Zuccotti Park in a way that is consistent with public safety and health. It should immediately do so.
The New York Civil Liberties Union will be reviewing the decision and exploring our options on ways to proceed and protect the right to protest. The NYCLU remains deeply concerned about the NYPD’s heavy-handed tactics during the overnight eviction of the park. At least seven journalists have been arrested for doing their job. We will work to ensure that police are held accountable for any misconduct. With or without tents, the Occupy Wall Street protests will continue for some time, and we expect the NYPD to adapt its practices to accommodate protest.”
The NYCLU has protest monitors across Lower Manhattan, from Zuccotti Park to Duarte Square, and is monitoring the situation as it unfolds. Live updates are being posted on the NYCLU’s Twitter feed, twitter.com/nyclu. We’re also asking protesters to share their stories and experiences with police via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.