Today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler and State Senator Daniel Squadron, who both represent Lower Manhattan, responded to the City's actions regarding Occupy Wall Street (OWS) at Zuccotti Park in Manhattan.
They issued the following joint statement:
"We agree that Zuccotti Park must be open and accessible to everyone -- OWS, the public, law enforcement and first responders -- and that it is critical to protect the health and safety of protesters and the community.
"We have also been urging the City to have a zero tolerance policy on noise and sanitation violations, and to make the results of its enforcement public.
"But we must balance the core First Amendment rights of protesters and the other legitimate issues that have been raised.
"The City's actions to shut down OWS last night raise a number of serious civil liberties questions that must be answered. Moving forward, how will the City respect the protesters' rights to speech and assembly? Why was press access limited, and why were some reporters' credentials confiscated? How will reported incidents of excessive force used by the police be addressed?
"On the issue of Brookfield's rules, we are very concerned that they were promulgated after the protesters arrived; the specific legal questions on this topic are being addressed where it is appropriate -- in the courts.
"Whatever the courts rule, the City's actions here must not be a backdoor means of ending the free exercise of protesters' rights.
"Irrespective of this incident, OWS is now bigger than Zuccotti Park, and no one has the power to silence this national movement."