Hundreds of New York City police officers in riot gear moved in early Tuesday morning and arrested 70 people as they removed Occupy Wall Street demonstrators from Zuccotti Park, where they had camped out for nearly two months.
The protesters were told they could return after sanitation workers cleaned the area. However, they will not be allowed to bring sleeping bags, tarps or tents.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that the evacuation was conducted in the middle of the night "to reduce the risk of confrontation in the park, and to minimize disruption to the surrounding neighborhood."
He said after the cleaning, protesters would be allowed to return but "must follow all park rules."
"The law that created Zuccotti Park required that it be open for the public to enjoy for passive recreation 24 hours a day," Bloomberg said.
"Ever since the occupation began, that law has not been complied with, as the park has been taken over by protesters, making it unavailable to anyone else," he said.
Marvin Olasky, editor-in-chief of World Magazine, who was a protester in the 1960s, offered CBN News some insight on the protesters' way of thinking.
"In any movement of this kind you have hard core and soft core followers. The hard core people know exactly what they want," Olasky explained. "They are agitating for anarchism, marxism, so forth. The soft core folks go out because it's a good time."
"Forty years ago, I was a senior in college and spent five days on a hunger strike opposite the Yale administration building," Olasky recalled. "I think I was probably soft core at that time. We were having a good time. People were lionizing us. We were brave, courageous, bold, wonderful, all that."
"As long as you are doing that, as long as people are paying attention and glorifying you and so forth, the tendency is to keep going unless you have a mayor who finally comes to his senses and says, 'Enough is enough,'" Olasky added.
Occupy encampments have come under severe scrutiny around the country. Local officials and residents have complained about possible health hazards and of the ongoing habitation of parks and other public spaces.
The Occupy protesters are planning a major push on Thursday, hoping to cram enough people into lower Manhattan to delay the opening bell on Wall Street.