Bloomberg: 'Occupy' park cleaning Friday

Oct. 13, 2011 at 7:10 PM
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NEW YORK, Oct. 13 (UPI) -- New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said "Occupy Wall Street" protesters in Zuccotti Park should prepare for the site to be cleaned Friday.

Bloomberg visited protesters Monday in Zuccotti Park and told them the private space will be cleaned at the end of the week.

"The mayor is a strong believer in the First Amendment and believes that the protesters have a right to continue to protest," Deputy Mayor for Operations Cas Holloway said in a statement. "At the same time, the last three weeks have created unsanitary conditions and considerable wear and tear on the park. This situation is not in the best interests of the protesters, residents or the city."

Polish Solidarity trade union activist and Nobel Peace laureate Lech Walesa said he would soon fly to New York to support Occupy Wall Street activists.

"How could I not respond," Walesa told a Polish newspaper Wednesday. "The thousands of people gathered near Wall Street are worried about the fate of their future, the fate of their country. This is something I understand."

The former shipyard worker who led Poland's successful revolt against Soviet communism said "capitalism is in crisis" and not just in America.

"This is a worldwide problem," he told Dziennik Wschodni of Lublin, Poland's ninth-largest city. "The Wall Street protesters have focused a magnifying glass on the problem."

Protest organizers said they would welcome Walesa's support.

"He fought very, very hard for the rights of all working people," Doug Forand of the 99 New York campaign, affiliated with Occupy Wall Street, told the New York Daily News.

Walesa, 68, who was president of Poland from 1990-1995, said through a spokesman he would fly to New York soon but did not give a date.

His comments came after Citigroup Inc. Chief Executive Officer Vikram Pandit said Occupy Wall Street sentiments were "completely understandable" and he'd be happy to talk with activists spawning similar protests nationwide.

"The economic recovery is not what we all want it to be," Pandit said in an interview at a breakfast sponsored by Fortune magazine. "There are a number of people in our country who can't achieve what they are capable of achieving and that's not a good place to be.

"I'd be happy to talk to them anytime they want," he later said, referring to the activists.

When asked what he would tell the protesters, who have camped out in New York's Financial District since Sept. 17, Pandit said he'd admit "that trust has been broken between financial institutions and the citizens of the United States and that it's Wall Street's job to reach out to Main Street and rebuild that trust."

"I'd talk about the fact that they should hold Citi and the financial institutions accountable for practicing responsible finance," he said.

Irresponsible finance would be taking actions that were not in clients' interest -- "just moving money around" in ways that don't create "economic value," he said.

The bank is expected to report its seventh straight quarter of profit Monday, after losing money in 2008 and 2009.

The Occupy protesters in New York and in scores of other cities say they are demonstrating against the richest 1 percent of the population, who hold 36 percent of the country's wealth, and against what the protesters say is Wall Street greed that contributed to the global economic crisis.

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