Bloomberg Says Occupy Wall Street Is 'Just The Beginning'
As Occupy Wall Street tried to literally occupy Wall street Thursday morning, the beginning of a 'Day Of Action' that will culminate in an evening rally at Foley Square, Mayor Michael Bloomberg was addressing a room full of the "1 percent."
Bloomberg, who decided to evict protesters in a midnight raid early Tuesday morning, told business leaders assembled for a panel on immigration that he sympathizes with the "99 percent" and that recent protests are a sign of a public understandably worried about the economy.
"We're coming to a point where Occupy Wall Street is just the beginning, the Tea Party is just the beginning," [Bloomberg] said. "The public is getting scared. They don't know what to do, and they're going to strike out, and they don't know where."
"Occupy Wall Street had this great saying, and they were chanting it: 'We don't know what we want, but we want it now,' " the mayor continued, prompting laughter from the crowd, which included the businessmen Rupert Murdoch and Sanford I. Weill.
"And if you think about it, that tells you what the problem is," he said. "They just know the system isn't working, and they don't want to wait around," he said, for another hollow promise by politicians (the mayor punctuated his remarks with an expletive).
The real quote, according to New York Times reporter Kate Taylor, was that protesters didn't want to "wait around for another bullshit promise."
Bloomberg has previously said that although he supports the protesters' First Amendment rights to assemble, he disagrees with their criticism of the economy, namely the vilification of banks.
And on September 16, the day before the Occupy Wall Street protests began, Bloomberg worried about riots in the United States caused by youth unemployment. "That's what happened in Cairo; that's what happened in Madrid," he said. "You don't want those kinds of riots here."
At a press conference Tuesday morning, he justified evicting protesters from Zuccotti Park by calling the encampment a fire and safety hazard.
Some protesters and local politicians alike objected to the tactics used to evict the protesters. Mayoral hopefuls John Liu and Scott Stringer compared the crackdown, respectively, to the "shock and awe" strategy employed in Iraq and to Tiananmen Square.
Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson blasted Liu and Stringer, among other mayoral hopefuls, for their rhetoric:
"I was shocked yesterday to see someone who is running for mayor to compare this to Tiananmen where hundreds of people were killed by soldiers- that is an insult to the NYPD and the professionalism that they have demonstrated. I saw someone today compare it to the Iraq War where hundreds of thousands of people were killed, that is an insult to the men and women of the NYPD who carried this out professionally. That kind of rhetoric is so overblown and so outrageous and so indicative of people who are not squaring up with...the central question which was whether or not we we're going to allow a dangerous situation to continue."