NYC residents complain about 'Occupy' protesters

October 24, 2011 - 2:43 PM
Wall Street Protest

Andrew Flinchbaugh, of Toms River, N.J. stands near the cleaning supplies at the Occupy Wall Street encampment in Zuccotti Park, Friday, Oct. 21, 2011 in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

NEW YORK (AP) — New Yorkers who live near the park where anti-Wall Street protesters have been camping out for more than a month are complaining that their quality of life has declined.

At a two-hour meeting Thursday night, some neighbors said protesters urinated in the streets and beat drums in the middle of the night.

"They're defecating on our doorsteps," said Catherine Hughes, a member of the area's community board, a representative panel that helps funnel local concerns to city officials.

Some neighbors who attended the packed meeting called for the protesters to vacate Zuccotti Park, the plaza where protesters have set up their base camp.

But the board voted unanimously for a resolution that recognized the protesters' First Amendment rights while calling for a crackdown on noise and public urination and defecation.

Three local elected officials praised the resolution in a statement Thursday.

U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and state Sen. Daniel Squadron called the community board's resolution "an attempt to establish a sensible framework that respects the protesters' fundamental rights while addressing the very real quality of life concerns for residents and businesses around Zuccotti Park."

Asked about Occupy Wall Street on WOR Radio on Friday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the protesters' leaderless structure has made it difficult to negotiate with them.

"It's a little bit complicated by there's nobody to work it out with," Bloomberg said. "You know, there just is not any one group, one ideology, one objective, one person to negotiate with."

Occupy Wall Street spokesman Han Shan, who has served as a liaison between protesters and local elected officials, agreed the protesters needed to be better neighbors.

Shan said Friday that there are ongoing discussions about the drumming, which is officially confined to noon to 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

One of the drummers, Jackson Leverette, questioned why neighbors would single out the drumming when the plaza, directly across the street from the World Trade Center site, is already noisy.

"When the construction workers are out there it actually drowns out the drums," he said.

The community board also said it opposed the use of force by police or the park's owners to address their concerns.