Are Tent Cities Free Speech?

By Gordon Crovitz, Wall Street Journal - November 21, 2011

Last week, the New York City Police Department's First Precinct issued the latest crime statistics. Typical offenses in the financial district and Tribeca usually are limited to minor matters such as hawking fake Rolexes and operating unlicensed food carts. This time there was a big increase in violent crimes. "Almost all of these crimes were in and around Zuccotti Park," commanding officer Edward Winski reported, adding wryly: "Many of these were assaults against police officers."

From Oakland, Calif., to Portland, Ore., to New York, the Occupy Wall Street movement has worn out the patience of even the most liberal cities. The protesters were shocked when politicians stopped excusing their unlawful behavior by referring to their First Amendment rights and instead forcibly removed their tent cities as threats to health and safety.

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