Recent news updates from Occupy protests read like a crime blotter: A man shot near the encampment in Oakland. A homeless person dead in Salt Lake City. A suicide in Vermont. Two drug overdoses and a molotov cocktail in downtown Portland, Ore. A sexual assault in Philadelphia. Hypothermia in Denver ... and a 53-year-old man unnoticed in his tent in New Orleans, dead for at least two days.
Even more prevalent are city concerns about sanitation. Thousands of protesters have lived outdoors with few toilets and no showers for the better part of two months.
Protesters in Chicago violated a noise ordinance; a protester in New York defecated on a police car. In Oakland, when police officers forcibly cleared protesters from Frank Ogawa Plaza this week, in part to deal with a rat infestation, cleaning crews hauled away more than 100 tents, dozens of molded mattresses and 27.8 tons of trash.
And now, as The Washington Post reports, cities are finally clearing out these cesspools in public parks. A group of some hundreds of New Yorkers protested the protesters earlier in the week, telling them to clear out. And the movement, which is calling for more fiscal responsibility, is costing the cities it's occupying millions of dollars.
With the clearing of New York's Zuccotti Park, the movement's birthplace, cities are finally taking back their citizens' public spaces. The true 99 percent is finally speaking up.