Occupy's first home now barricade-free

Jan. 11, 2012 at 1:24 PM
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NEW YORK, Jan. 11 (UPI) -- Occupy Wall Street protesters returned to Zuccotti Park, their original home camp, after New York police removed the barricades.

The New York Police Department cleared its barricades around the private park Tuesday, the day after rights organizations sent a letter to the city demanding their removal, The New York Daily News reported.

"We determined they were not needed," police spokesman Paul Browne said.

The park's owner, Brookfield Properties, removed its barriers as well.

Protesters celebrated the removal of the barricades, which were put up after police cleared demonstrators Nov. 15. "We can finally breathe," said Al Burgo, of Brooklyn. "This is sacred ground."

"We're pleased the city is finally giving the park back to the people," said Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union.

The NYCLU, the Center for Constitutional Rights and the New York City chapter of the National Lawyers Guild sent a letter to Department of Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri Monday, warning that the barriers violated zoning laws.

Before the barricades were removed, park-goers could enter the park near where security guards performed searches, the NYCLU said.

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