The twin blows of an overnight police raid and a negative court ruling hobbled Occupy Wall Street Tuesday, but protesters were soon streaming back into Zuccotti Park and vowing the crackdown had only reinvigorated their movement.
The judge's ruling - coming more than 12 hours after cops cleared the park, largely blocked the press from covering the dramatic sweep and arrested hundreds of protesters - allows protesters to return but prohibits tents and sleeping bags, vital to continuing the controversial encampment in the movement's symbolic birthplace.
"Our momentum now is stronger than ever," said Anup Desai, a press liaison for Occupy Wall Street, which hadn't decided whether to appeal.
In that ruling, Justice Michael Stallman wrote that Mayor Michael Bloomberg's reasons for evicting the protesters - mounting health, sanitation and safety risks - were fair, and that protesters "have not demonstrated that they have a First Amendment right to remain in Zuccotti Park, along with tents, structures, generators and other installations."
Bloomberg took responsibility for the raid, which followed anxious weeks in which he sought to balance the protesters' constitutional rights with increasing concerns about the encampment.
Still, the eviction may end up backfiring on the city, observers said.
"It's a loss, but it's also, like many of these things ... a form of martyrdom," said NYU professor Andrew Ross.
In the raid, hundreds of police stormed the camp around 1 a.m. Tuesday and dismantled and removed tents, tarpaulins and other items, arresting about 200 people, including about a dozen who had chained themselves to each other and to trees. The park was then cleaned.
A clash later in the day near Canal Street led to more arrests and the detention of several journalists.
Some downtown businesses and residents were pleased the park had been cleared and cleansed.
But protesters were not discouraged.
Tommy Fox, 54, of the Upper East Side, who has been at the park for 51 days and has led more than 20 marches, the eviction served only to strengthen the movement.
"We will follow the law, we are law-abiding citizens," Fox said. "We simply want to make America more fair. There are 300 parks in New York. We occupy one, and they couldn't take it.
(with Amanda Dallas)
BY THE NUMBERS
Approximate number arrests in Tuesday morning raid
Estimated number of journalists arrested
Estimated number of law enforcement officers in raid
CRACKDOWN TOLD IN TWEETS
Tuesday morning’s eviction of protesters from Zuccotti Park is the type of news event that Twitter was made for. Here’s how it unfolded.
11:29 p.m. Monday
@LamarEsq: “NYPD in riot gear gathering beneath Brooklyn, Manhattan bridges, only blocks from #OWS. Cops say just a drill,” including a photo.
@AlexGittleson: “THIS JUST IN (from the after-hours newsman pops) - police are taking back #Zucotti Park. Riot gear and all. Closed for business at 1am. #OWS”
NYPD in riot gear surround the park; Brooklyn Bridge and most nearby subways shut down.
1:07 a.m. Tuesday
@OccupyWallStNYC: “EMERGENCY URGENT NYC CAMP BEING RAIDED RIGHT NOW EVERYONE TO ZUCATTI,” with links to a livestream.
3:10 a.m. & 3:28 a.m.
@JoshHarkinson (Mother Jones reporter): “Cops have a giant orange bulldozer that they’ve used to scrape everything up.” ... “Cop on bullhorn now: ‘If you refuse to leave the park you are subject to arrest.’ ”
@OccupyWallStNYC: “100’s of #occupiers converging on #FoleySq after eviction.”
Follow reporter Tim Herrera on Twitter: @tim_herrera