Easy for him to say, he doesn’t live or run a business near Zuccotti Park.

(The Hill) — Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended the Occupy Wall Street protesters in New York City on Wednesday, saying that his city has not had the “the kinds of things you see in other cities where people are running in the streets and destroying commerce.”

The Occupy Wall Street movement, which has spread to various cities across the U.S., and has sometimes resulted in violence and arrests, began in Manhattan’s Financial District, where protesters are still camped in a park. Bloomberg has clashed with protesters in the past when he indicated they should not be allowed to stay, but took a pragmatic view on Wednesday.

“We watch very carefully and they generally do not break the law,” Bloomberg said on MSNBC. “I would prefer that we open up the park and begin to let people come through. The park . . . is not necessarily designed for sleeping.”

However, Bloomberg indicated the protesters would be allowed to stay for now. Previously he has defended protesters’ First Amendment right to express themselves.

“They say, ‘We don’t know what we want but we want it now,'” he said. “But that’s just as good a way of saying it as anything. . . . They express it by camping out and yelling and and screaming.”

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