New York – The municipal government called off Friday's planned eviction of Occupy Wall Street protesters to clean the park in Lower Manhattan that has been the activists' base since the mobilization began on Sept. 17.
"Late last night, we received notice from the owners of Zuccotti Park - Brookfield Properties - that they are postponing their scheduled cleaning of the park, and for the time being withdrawing their request from earlier in the week for police assistance during their cleaning operation," New York Deputy Mayor Caswell Holloway said in a statement issued early Friday.
The OWS protesters had vowed to peacefully resist any attempt to force them from the park in the financial district.
Around 1,000 people have been arrested in various incidents since the launch of the protests aimed at highlighting the growing gap between the richest 1 percent of Americans and the rest of the population.
"Brookfield believes they can work out an arrangement with the protesters that will ensure the park remains clean, safe, available for public use and that the situation is respectful of residents and businesses downtown, and we will continue to monitor the situation," Holloway said.
New York's billionaire mayor, Michael Bloomberg, went to Zuccotti Park on Wednesday to tell the OWS occupiers that they would have to leave temporarily to allow for a cleaning.
He said Brookfield Properties management had contacted him to complain about "unhealthy conditions" at the park.
One of the spokespersons for OWS, Patrick Bruner, said he and other activists sought Thursday night to deliver to Bloomberg a petition with more than 200,000 signatures urging the mayor to cancel the eviction.
"Brookfield Properties is the 1 percent. They have invested $24 billion in mortgage-backed securities, so as millions face foreclosure and eviction due to predatory lending and the burst of the housing bubble that Wall Street created, its not surprising they threatened to evict Occupy Wall Street," Bruner said.
OWS began as a protest by a few hundred people, but the contingent in Zuccotti Park has grown and the movement has spread to cities across the United States.
Activists worldwide are planning a day of protest for Saturday.