free speech

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said he supports the protesters’ free-speech rights as long as they don’t violate the law. He said he’ll defer to the owner of Zuccotti Park, Brookfield Office Properties Inc., to determine how long the demonstrators can stay. Brookfield’s park rules forbid camping, lying on benches, and using tarps and tents…“I’m 100 percent in favor of protecting — 1,000 percent in favor — of giving people rights to say things, but also we have to protect those who don’t want to say anything,” Bloomberg said today at a press briefing in Queens. “There are places where I think it’s appropriate to express yourself and then there are other places that are appropriate to set up a tent city, and they don’t necessarily have to be one and the same,” he said. “The Constitution doesn’t protect tents, it protects speech and assembly.” [Bloomberg]