Much of the following was reported by Charles Maldonado, on the scene.
Following Occupy NOLA's complaint against Mayor Mitch Landrieu outlining the city's "unconstitutional deprivation of First Amendment activities," U.S. District Judge Jay Zainey this afternoon issued a seven-day temporary restraining order.
The ruling prevents city-enforced eviction and grants protestors 24-hour access to the park, with some restrictions: no weapons, animals, open flames or electrical cords. Use of the pavilion also is restricted. Tents are allowed — though the city, it admits, trashed what was left when protestors' camps were thrown into a dump truck and crushed. Officials removed the barricades surrounding Duncan Plaza, which was blocked off and its occupiers evicted early this morning (about 4 a.m.). They're allowed to rebuild, effective now.
City attorney Richard Cortizas did not offer comment to Gambit following the hearing, but his full statement is below the jump.
“We respect the Court’s decision, but we respectfully disagree.
“Today, the City moved forward with well-planned, well-executed enforcement of city and state laws in Duncan Plaza. We did so in a fashion that respected the 1st Amendment rights of those in the park within the bounds of the law that protected the common good. Today’s actions were safe and peaceful.
“For the past 61 days, the City worked cooperatively and reasonably with individuals who encamped in the park.
“Today, we successfully cleaned the park, housed homeless individuals, and reduced the threats to public health and safety. We will comply with the order of the Court, but we remain deeply concerned that allowing the re-encampment of Duncan Plaza poses a threat to the public health, safety, and welfare of those encamped there and to the community at large.”
Actions taken to date related to the Duncan Plaza encampment have cost the City well over $50,000.