Occupy Wall Street stages protest in Union Square

March 22, 2012 5:50:01 PM PDT
Occupy Wall Street is promising to step up its protest in Lower Manhattan. Wednesday night, some protesters managed to illegally storm the iconic bull statue on Wall Street.

Police officials have spent $17.4 million in police overtime costs because of Occupy Wall Street since the movement began last September.

The mayor mentions that protesters are welcome anywhere in the city as long as they do not break the law and do not camp out overnight in the park.

Several hundred protesters are taking the mayor up on their offer and occupying Union Square Park.

The police are being flexible when it comes to sleeping in Union Square Park, and police officers even looked the other way when some women took their tops off.

"It's not clear that there is an organized group happening there," said NYC parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe, "They're a rather disorganized group that happens to come and go. As long as people are dispersed around the park and they're not otherwise breaking a law, they can gather in parks."

Many protesters still claim that police have gone too far with the claim that too much cardboard was on the sidewalk and that it was a problem.

At a city council hearing Thursday, several council members urged police officers to back off.

The rule that is being enforced is that no one, including protesters, can sleep in the park from midnight until 6:00 a.m.

The protesters technically need a permit from the Parks Department, which they do not have. The Parks Department merely shrugged and said "we will see" when asked if they would enforce the permit rule.

Protesters seem to be there for quite a while, and police say they will be flexible.