* NY protest loses generators a day before first snow due
* Analysts say Bloomberg's strategy simple - no violence
(Adds call for investigation into Oakland incident)
By Chris Francescani and Michelle Nichols
NEW YORK, Oct 28 Anti-Wall Street protesters'
plans to camp in a New York park throughout the city's harsh
winter were dealt a blow on Friday when the fire department
confiscated generators and fuel because they posed a danger.
With the first snow forecast to fall on Saturday, the
Occupy Wall Street movement against economic inequality lost
the generators that had been powering heat, computers and a
kitchen in the Lower Manhattan camp they set up six weeks ago.
"They think that taking the 'power' away will take the
power away, and that's absolutely not true at all," said Occupy
Wall Street spokesman Michael Booth.
The movement has sparked so-called occupations in cities
across the United States. But recent evictions in places like
Oakland, California, where police used tear gas and stun
grenades, and Atlanta, have New York protesters on edge.
However, unlike protesters elsewhere, who rallied in city
parks which typically have a curfew at night, those in New York
set up camp in a privately-owned park open to the public 24
hours a day and cannot be removed unless the owner, Brookfield
Office Properties, officially complains to the city.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the six generators
and fuel were confiscated because they were considered a safety
hazard and it was not a bid to remove protesters.
"As long as they don't take away anybody else's rights to
say what they want to say, or to not say anything, to go about
their business safely ... at the moment it will continue,"
Bloomberg told local radio.
Some analysts said that Bloomberg's strategy toward the
protesters was simple -- contain them and ensure there is no
violence like that seen in Oakland, where former U.S. Marine
Scott Olsen was badly injured in clashes with police.
"Everything is about containing it, if it goes on for a
long time they are prepared. Let them live and be well and it
will come to an end," said political strategist Hank Sheinkopf.
"The strategic move is not to have violence."
Ken Sherrill, a professor of political science at Hunter
College in New York, said any kind of conflict would be bad for
the city's image and that Bloomberg was no doubt hoping that
the protest would fade as the weather worsened.
"That doesn't mean that the mayor wants to make life easy
for the demonstrators," he said. "Other than perhaps ratcheting
up the inconveniences, there's not going to be anything more
intense and I think that would be ill-conceived anyway."
But Occupy Wall Street spokesman Ed Needham said the
removal of the generators was "certainly a directed effort to
thwart our situation." He said solar powered generators were
being brought in to replace those taken.
"It makes us feel like this is a confrontational
relationship between the city and the park, and that's not the
type of relationship we're trying to foster," Needham said.
"We'll do just fine this winter. Our volunteers are as creative
and resourceful as they are committed."
A possible showdown between Occupy Wall Street and New York
police was averted two weeks ago when Brookfield Office
Properties postponed a cleanup of the area, which protesters
feared was a bid to remove them.
Protesters say they are upset that the billions of dollars
in bank bailouts doled out during the recession allowed banks
to resume earning huge profits while average Americans have had
no relief from high unemployment and job insecurity.
They also believe the richest 1 percent of Americans do not
pay their fair share in taxes.
Occupy Arrests, a Twitter feed compiling arrests related to
Occupy Wall Street, said that since the movement began five
weeks ago, 2,750 people have been arrested around the world,
including about 1,000 in New York City.
New York police spokesman Paul Browne said on Friday:
"Lawful protest is accommodated and when there's unlawful
conduct arrests are made."
In San Diego, 51 people were arrested and in Nashville,
Tennessee, dozens of protesters were arrested when their camps
were cleared by police on Friday.
In California, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, who has come under
withering criticism for her handling of the protests, has
apologized for a clash between police and protesters during a
march on Tuesday night that wounded ex-Marine Olsen.
"When there's violence there are no winners," she said. "It
polarizes us and opens old wounds rather than brings us
together, which is the aim of Occupy Wall Street and uniting
the 99 percent," she said in a written statement.
The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America on Friday
called for a "full and complete investigation" into the
circumstances surrounding the incident.
Quan has also agreed to meet with Occupy Oakland organizers
but said they would not be allowed to camp in a city park.
In New York about 200 people, some dressed in Halloween
costumes, peacefully marched past various bank headquarters in
midtown Manhattan, but they were almost outnumbered by police.
(Writing by Michelle Nichols, additional reporting by Joan
Gralla in New York, Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles, Marty Graham
in San Diego and Tim Ghianni in Nashville; editing by Anthony