Nov. 4 (Bloomberg) -- New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg visited the park where Occupy Wall Street demonstrators have been camping for seven weeks, saying afterward he was concerned about the effect the protest is having on area businesses.
“You’ve got liability, you’ve got implications on peoples’ businesses,” Bloomberg said today on his weekly WOR radio show. “I’m concerned about businesses in the neighborhood, every industry in the city. We have a responsibility to protect that.”
The mayor said the city wouldn’t tolerate illegal behavior, including public urination.
“People have the right to protest; they don’t have a right to destroy a neighborhood,” he said. “Anybody that thinks we’re going to tolerate behavior that’s not protected is wrong.”
Organizers said today they intend to march on Manhattan’s U.S. District Courthouse tomorrow to demand prosecution of bankers who violated laws in the foreclosures of tens of thousands of homes.
The Occupy Wall Street protest that began Sept. 17 has spread to cities including Denver, Boston, Tokyo, Rome and Sydney, with demonstrations against widening income disparity and what demonstrators call corporate greed. Protesters shut the Port of Oakland, California, Nov. 2, blocking gates, setting fires and hurling rocks and bottles at officers. The port reopened yesterday.
“Four thousand to 5,000 people in the streets, burning, we are not going to have that here,” Bloomberg said. “If you handle things the wrong way you wind up with an Oakland.”
Bloomberg, 69, said New York City police had removed metal barricades from Wall Street earlier this week after merchants objected, only to restore them temporarily when protesters “went rushing into the streets.” Police have cracked down on public urination and fire marshals visit every day to prevent installation of gasoline-powered electric generators, he said.
The mayor is founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP.
--With assistance from Esmé Deprez. Editors: Mark Schoifet, Mark Tannenbaum
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