Wall Street Protests Continue, With at Least 5 Arrested
By Colin Moynihan / New York Times / September 19, 2011
In a continuation of the demonstrations that began on Saturday, nearly 200 protesters marched along Wall Street and other parts of the financial district Monday morning, brandishing American flags and signs denouncing the economic system. At least five of them were arrested.
Office workers heading to their desks passed the protesters on the sidewalks with little incident. At times, the two groups squeezed shoulder to shoulder through narrow passages formed by metal police barricades.
The first three arrests came on Pine Street, when a police lieutenant ordered that two men wearing ski masks be taken into custody. Officers then arrested a woman wearing a plastic mask on the back of her head.
The next arrest came a few minutes later on when a deputy inspector standing on Wall Street ordered a man wearing an orange hat to keep moving. The man, who had turned around in a crowded sidewalk just west of Broad Street, spoke to the inspector for a moment, then lifted his hands and said that he was having difficulty moving.
At that, the inspector reached over a curbside barricade, grabbed the man and tried to haul him from the sidewalk onto the street. As the man backed away, the inspector lunged forward, holding onto the man and toppling the metal barricade. The inspector fell to the sidewalk and a moment later the man in the orange hat was also on the ground, being handcuffed.
The police confirmed that three men and a woman were arrested under provisions that make it illegal for two or more individuals to wear masks, and that another man was arrested on charges of jumping a police barrier and resisting arrest. (A reporter and a photographer for The Times who witnessed the episode between the man in the orange hat and the police did not see him attempting to jump a barrier.)
Two people were arrested on Saturday as they tried to enter the building housing the Bank of America while wearing masks, said Paul J. Browne, the chief police spokesman. Those arrested came from several states, including Massachusetts, Michigan, Virginia, New Jersey and Washington State, Mr. Browne said. One person arrested was from Manhattan.
Another woman was arrested around 11:45 a.m. as she was writing in chalk on the sidewalk on Broadway near Zuccotti Park. “They just came up and grabbed her,” said Jessica Davis, 19, who identified the arrested woman as Andrea Osborne.
It was the third day of anticorporate protests that were promoted by a range of groups including AdbustersMedia Foundation, an advocacy group based in Canada, as well as a New York City group that called itself the General Assembly. Participants said that the demonstrations were meant to criticize a financial system that unfairly benefits corporations and the rich and undermines democracy.
Organizers said that the protests were inspired by demonstrations in Egypt and Spain and could continue for weeks or even months.
For two nights, protesters have used Zuccotti Park, near Broadway and Maiden Lane, as a staging ground. Hundreds of people gathered there for mass meetings to discuss and plan their actions. They used granite benches inside the park as pantry shelves, piling jars of peanut butter, and bags of apples there along with jumbo-size cardboard containers of coffee.
For two nights, the park was turned into a campsite. Protesters slept wrapped in blankets and sleeping bags, partly insulated from the chilly ground by pieces of cardboard scavenged from nearby stores.
On Monday morning dozens of those scraps of cardboard doubled as signs, duct-taped to part of the park facing Liberty Street and emblazoned with handwritten messages including “Kill the Zombie Banks,” “I came here because I am scared for my country,” and “End corporate welfare.”
Just after 8 a.m. Monday, protesters emerged from the park and began a winding march through the streets of Lower Manhattan, accompanied by police officers equipped with plastic handcuffs and video cameras that they used to record the march.
At times, the marchers congregated at intersections, blowing horns, beating drums and dancing. At one point, near the New York Stock Exchange, a police lieutenant announced through a megaphone that members of the crowd would be arrested for disorderly conduct if they remained there. The crowd then resumed marching, as they chanted “All day, all week, occupy Wall Street.”
Among them was Alexander Holmes, 26, from Oakland, California.
“There’s a major divide between the rich and the poor in this country,” he said. “One in 10 people are unemployed and my vote is nullified by corporate lobbyists.”