FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 13, 2011
Contact: Kristina Johnson (415) 977-5619
Statement by Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune on the Eviction of Wall Street Protesters
For the past several weeks, protesters encamped at New York City’s Zuccotti Park, in the center of Wall Street, have peacefully held vigil in support of a broad vision for financial, political, and environmental reform in America. From this creative hub of activity, a diverse group of students, members of labor unions, environmentalists, and concerned citizens have helped this non-violent grassroots protest spread to more than 1,400 events nationwide.
New York City officials have announced that tomorrow morning (10-14-11) they will ask the protestors to leave Zuccotti Park so that crews can come in and clean. The Sierra Club has asked the Bloomberg administration to honor the spirit of open debate and assure that authorities not use cleaning the park as a pretext for ending this peaceful demonstration. Restricting the hours during which citizens are allowed to protest undermines the spirit of one of our nation’s most cherished freedoms.
Since the founding of our republic, ordinary citizens have accomplished extraordinary things by joining together to express their convictions. It is our heritage to speak truth to power, and our nation's historic respect for peaceful dissent has helped the United States enact civil rights legislation, promote human rights internationally, and end unjust wars. Citizen engagement has brought this country out of its darkest hours and helped us fulfill our promises of justice and equality to millions.
Such protests are at the heart of our democratic process. How our elected officials choose to handle such demonstrations is a good measure of the health of our constitutionally guaranteed freedoms, including the right to assemble.
The Sierra Club strongly supports the right of all Americans to exercise their civil liberties by peacefully protesting, and encourages authorities and demonstrators alike to treat each other with respect and tolerance.