Just as bulldozers were knocking down Occupy New Haven’s encampment on the New Haven Green, a federal judge gave the protesters one more reprieve.
On Monday, federal judge Mark Kravitz ruled that the city could lawfully remove protesters’ tents from the New Haven Green. Kravitz gave the Occupiers until noon today to leave. But as city workers began to disassemble the encampment just after noon, and two Occupiers were arrested for interfering with the eviction, both sides received word that Occupy attorney Norm Pattis had successfully received a third stay for the protest from a federal court of appeals in New York.
Counsel Victor Bolden said the city stopped the eviction as soon as it received notice from the court. The third stay, Bolden said, would last until a panel of three judges can hear Pattis’ appeal, which he said would probably be sometime next week.
“I want no one to mistake my view that the people of New Haven deserve the New Haven Green back,” Mayor John DeStefano Jr. said at a press conference after the attempted eviction. “In the six months that the Occupy encampment has existed on the Green, the city has acted in a cooperative and supportive fashion in terms of free speech, the intended use of the Green. However, I don’t think it’s appropriate for a few to monopolize one of the central assets of the city of New Haven.”
Following the announcement of the court’s decision, Occupiers celebrated, chanting at police and public workers. They said they are planning a party on the Green on April 15, the movement’s six month anniversary. Occupy protesters interviewed said that, before the judge’s stay came, the police had removed 20 to 25 percent of the encampment.