Occupy Wall St Returns to Zuccotti Park

Occupy Wall Street returned to Zuccotti Park Wednesday as the barricades surrounding the plaza were finally removed.

Hundreds of protesters went back into the lower Manhattan park in an attempt to reclaim the privately owned park that was the birth place of the national anti-greed movement.

Events were mostly peaceful until three demonstrators attempted to lie down to sleep, and were arrested by NYPD.

“We were recovering,” Occupier Felix Rivera-Pitre said about the movement’s low profile in recent months since the NYPD stormed the park Nov. 15 and removed everyone.

“Everything we had was lost during the raid.”

Rivera-Pitre, from Harlem, made headlines in October when he was punched by Deputy Inspector Johnny Cardona during a peaceful march. Brandon Watts, 20, was also among the masses who returned to Zuccotti Park. He had a similar brutal encounter with officers on Nov. 17 that left a huge bloody gash on his forehead. Pictures of the incident made national headlines.

About 1:30 a.m. Wednesday around 50 to 70 protesters remained in the space and a handful attempted to stretch out on pieces of cardboard.

The park’s owner, Brookfield Office Properties, has banned the use of tents, tarps or sleeping bags and even forbids people lying down on the benches. The rules were introduced after hundreds of Occupy Wall Street demonstrators began camping out in the park in September. They remained for nearly two months until cops evicted them.

“You are not allowed to lay down or sleep in the park,” an NYPD officer warned the protesters through a microphone on Wednesday. “If you do not obey these orders, you will be arrested for trespassing. This is your final warning.”

Some protesters shouted back, “Go home, terrorist!” while others carried handmade “angry pacifists” signs.

When park officials moved to confiscate the cardboard, a fight ensued and two men and one woman were removed from the area in plastic handcuffs. The rest of the crowd shouted, “Shame, shame.”

Occupy Wall Street protesters first took over Zuccotti Park, which by law is open 24-hours-a-day, on Sept. 17 as part of their campaign for greater social and economic equality.

The movement has spread to dozens of countries around the world.

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