After police crackdowns against Occupy Wall Street in Georgia and California, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg touted his commitment to freedom of speech and defended his handling of the protesters, the Wall Street Journal reports. “Every city has to deal with the realities of how many people, where they are, what their tolerance is for freedom of speech,” Bloomberg said. In Atlanta, police in riot gear moved into a small city park after midnight and arrested more than 50 protesters. In Oakland, police used tear gas and arrested more than 80 people.
Since the protest at Zuccotti Park in New York City began last month, the mayor has tried to balance the demonstrators' rights and the local community's growing discontent with the noise, sanitation problems, and other fallout from the 24-hour encampment in a public plaza. The park, located a few blocks from Wall Street, is owned by Brookfield Properties under an agreement with the city that specifies it must be open to the public at all times.