9:42 am ET: Mayor Bloomberg has commented on the reasoning of Brookfield properties deciding to postpone the planned cleaning of Zuccotti Park during his weekly radio address, via the New York Post: "My understanding is Brookfield got lots of calls from many elected officials, threatening them and saying if you don't stop this we'll make your life more difficult." NBC New York now has the arrest total at up to 10 after a group of protestors marched downtown and clashed with police after the announcement.
Update: From The New York Daily News live-blog: After the news that the cleaning was postponed, a group of protestors marched downtown, and some "came into conflict with the NYPD. Marching from the park, at least 4 have been arrested so far."
It looks like Occupy Wall Street protesters won't have to temporarily leave Zuccotti Park and take their sleeping bags with them just yet. Brookfield properties, the owners of the park, have postponed Friday's planned cleaning. The statement, from New York's Deputy Mayor's office via BNO News, said that Brookfield is "postponing their scheduled cleaning of the park, and for the time being withdrawing their request from earlier in the week for police assistance during their cleaning operation." So, for the time being, the efforts of the protestors to clean up the park on their own (pictured above) and seeming refusal to vacate the premises seems to have averted a stand off between OWS and police enforcing the cleaning. Here's the full statement from the Deputy Mayor's office:
Late last night, we received notice from the owners of Zuccotti Park – Brookfield Properties – that they are postponing their scheduled cleaning of the park, and for the time being withdrawing their request from earlier in the week for police assistance during their cleaning operation. Our position has been consistent throughout: the City’s role is to protect public health and safety, to enforce the law, and guarantee the rights of all New Yorkers. Brookfield believes they can work out an arrangement with the protesters that will ensure the park remains clean, safe, available for public use and that the situation is respectful of residents and businesses downtown, and we will continue to monitor the situation.
Earlier in the week, Mayor Bloomberg's office issued a statement saying that the park would be cleaned on Friday, saying that the issue was one of sanitation and that protesters would be allowed back in the park. Later, it was clarified that once the cleaning was completed protestors wouldn't be able to bring back all their gear and belongings. The Associated Press estimated that there were "[s]ome 600 to 700 protesters gathered in early morning darkness" and the cheers erupted when the announcement was heard.