Barricades Come Down at Zuccotti Park, Protesters Re-Occupy

Last night the barricades that have been surrounding Zuccotti Park in downtown New York finally came down after repeated complaints and letters from the National Lawyers' Guild and others.

Almost immediately, protesters re-entered, as Gothamist reports:

Earlier this evening, the barricades were removed and stacked off to the sides, permitting visitors to enter the park wherever their heart's desire, instead of the narrow security checkpoints. FREEDOM! But with freedom comes responsibility; according to one occupier"Brookfield Security said unless we do something stupid the park will remain open!"

 Jubliant re-occupation and a tense-standoff over the People's Library followed. The Village Voice reports:

Within an hour of the removal of the barriers, the kitchen working group was serving hot food to all who wanted it, protesters were making and arranging cardboard signs, and the Occupy Wall Street library was slowly being reassembled, cartload by cartload.

As has been true several times in the past, the library quickly became a flashpoint and a rallying place, as Brookfield employees repeatedly warned protesters that the books were not allowed in the park. Protesters defied the warnings. Gideon Oliver noted that there is no prohibition on books in Brookfield's evolving list of rules for the park, and that to ban the books would be unconstitutional. The Brookfield guards ultimately backed down, telling Segal they were just there to inform people of the rules, not enforce them.

The park has technically been open since the encampment's eviction, but the barriers with checkpoints were a daunting prospect, forbidding and difficult to navigate. Therefore this is both a symbolic and actual victory. Here are some pictures from Meg Robertson of the Dylan Ratigan show.

As Occupiers decide how to work with the newly-liberated space, Reuters has a rundown of all the Occupy-related court and legal cases still pending.

AlterNet / By Sarah Seltzer

Posted at January 11, 2012, 4:00am