Bloomberg Tells Protesters Zuccotti Park Needs Cleaning

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Hundreds sleep in Zuccotti Park, the center of the Occupy Wall Street protests, on October 10, 2011.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg went to Zuccotti Park Wednesday to tell protesters that the park would be cleaned on Friday morning.

Deputy Mayor for Operations Cas Holloway said the cleaning "will be done in stages and the protesters will be able to return to the areas that have been cleaned, provided they abide by the rules that Brookfield has established for the park."

He added that Bloomberg is "a strong believer in the First Amendment and believes that the protesters have a right to continue to protest. At the same time, the last three weeks have created unsanitary conditions and considerable wear and tear on the park."

Brookfield Properties, which owns Zuccotti Park, has expressed concern about the conditions in the park since Occupy Wall Street protesters began camping out there.

In a letter sent to Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly on Tuesday, Brookfield Properties wrote "conditions at the Park have deteriorated to unsanitary and unsafe levels." The company said they have been unable to clean or do necessary maintenance.

The protesters' response was to plan a demonstration for an hour before clean-up on Friday is to begin. They believe the effort by Brookfield Properties to clean the park is an attempt to end the protest.

With the Associated Press