In a pragmatic move, the owners of New York City's Zucotti Park - the physical epicentre of the Occupy Wall Street movement, where protestors have been camping and organizing for weeks - withdrew their request to the NYPD to clear the private park this morning for cleaning of the area.
Public officials had announced yesterday that Brookfield Office Properties requested the park be emptied, and that protestors would be allowed to return after a standard cleanup. Brookfield said conditions at the park had become "unsanitary and unsafe", citing a lack of toilets, drug use, and harassment of citizens who lived in the neighbourhood.
In a statement, New York City Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway said: "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."
Some protestors were concerned the cleanup was an attempt to evict the movement permanently, as conditions for returning to the park included a ban on putting up tents, lying down on the ground, storing personal property - pretty much everything protesters have been doing since the demonstrations began.
The decision to postpone the cleaning averted fears of a physical escalation between police and protesters who said they would clean the park themselves, and, if necessary, create a non-violent human barricade around the perimeter of the area rather than leave quietly.
However, there were a small number of altercations and arrests later in the morning when some protestors, buoyed by Brookfield's reversal, marched toward Wall Street. One protestor was allegedly run over by a policeman on a scooter, while police say protestors were taunting them by throwing bottles and bags of garbage.