An afternoon march culminated in the arrest of at least 700 protesters on Saturday, who came to participate and show solidarity with Occupy Wall Street. It is estimated about three to six thousand people were out protesting. The march came to the Brooklyn Bridge. Those at the front of the march chanted, “Take the bridge!” and a swell of people began to walk across a walk way on the bridge.
Those up on the walkway on the bridge looked down to see people walking on to the Brooklyn Bridge road. NYPD officers were at the front of the march. This was unexpected. The protesters continued on the bridge and chanted, “Whose bridge? Our bridge!” The euphoria being experienced among the protesters was noticeably liberating. It is at this moment that people likely felt they were capable of defeating any injustice if they just stuck together.
A police line then formed across the road. Hundreds were stopped. The protesters continued to show strength and resolve, but as the officer announced people would be arrested for disorderly conduct, it was clear they were all going to be taken away unless they found an escape route.
It looks like police entrapped the protesters on the bridge. The NYPD could have just kept going on the bridge and then led the protesters to a side road on the other side and asked them to disperse. The participants would have made their way back to Zuccotti Park, where the occupation has been taking place in lower Manhattan near Wall Street. But, the police led hundreds to unknowingly commit one of the most powerful acts of civil disobedience in recent American history.
The hundreds who were arrested and taken to jail and who may not be released until Monday may want to consider a class action lawsuit. In 2003, Chicagoans who protested the imminent invasion of Iraq filed a federal lawsuit against the Chicago police for herding “thousands of peaceful demonstrators onto Chicago Avenue between Michigan Avenue and inner Lake Shore Drive then blockaded them there illegally for two to three hours on March 20.” (I’ll expand on this in a future post.)
FDL’s premier live blog on Occupy Wall Street continues. Today will likely be a “day of rest” for the occupiers. The blog will track the immediate aftermath and fallout from the mass arrest. The comments thread will be a space for further discussion of what Occupy Wall Street has created and how the movement can continue to be built in the face of a security state that will defend the interests of the moneyed elite before the people.
Here’s the Twitter list of people to follow.
LIVE STREAM OF OCCUPY WALL STREET VIA GLOBAL REVOLUTION
11:27 PM Scene unfolds involving a drummer that doesn’t want to stop playing and respect a noise curfew. TARU and police come over to drum circle. A drummer is shouting and acting “belligerent.” The drummer says something about money and Iraq. Check @NewYorkist for specifics.
10:48 PM The Guardian wants to hear from anyone arrested on Brooklyn Bridge:
Were you part of the Brooklyn Bridge protests? Do you have more video or pictures, or links to material already published? We would like to build a more comprehensive picture of what happened.
Also, were you arrested? We would like to hear your story.
Click here for details on how to contact The Guardian if you have something to share.
10:35 PM New York Times Police Bureau Chief Al Baker contributes to another Occupy Wall Street article. This article tries to get citizens to empathize and understand why white-shirted officers have been the ones man-handling protesters.
10:27 PM In case you missed it: TWU President John Samuelson on “Countdown” explains why TWU is supporting Occupy Wall Street.
10:20 PM Minor episode just unfolded. @SabzBrach has a series of tweets indicating a girl was just arrested. It seems like she chained herself to her bike. Five officers were on the scene and girl was arrested. The bike had to be sawed off. It’s all very peculiar.
8:23 PM Ava, who was arrested yesterday, gives a firsthand account of what it was like to be arrested. She describes the thought process that went through her head when she figured out she had no choice but to be arrested:
…The officers were only letting about five people at a time leave. Several minutes passed and suddenly they quit letting people leave. A white shirted officer began to shout to the rear of the crowd, “You wanted to stay! Now you’re staying! You’re all getting arrested!” Many people in the rear of the crowd began to freak out – many were crying and begging to leave willingly.
I contemplated what to do. In my mind it would be better for me to willingly turn myself in so that I could leave sooner and show that I was not resisting arrest, and explain that I was there to document and take photos. I was then yelled at by the same white-shirt that yelled at the crowd earlier, “You wanna go in? Ok, then step right up”, as if I was insincere about my willingness to go in…
Read her full account of the arrest (posted at myFDL). It has clearly moved her to consider participating more in the Occupy Wall Street activities.
8:14 PM Institute for Policy Studies video (which FDL’s David Dayen used in a recent post)
7:55 PM This is a joke, right? From MoveOn.org:
MoveOn is one of those liberal-leaning get-out-the-vote-for-Democrats organizations you want to watch closely as they use images from Occupy Wall Street to promote their weak campaigns for taking on Wall Street influence over politics in this country. Unless they are mobilizing people to join “occupy” events across America, they aren’t really helping. Engage in Internet activism but not as a substitute for physically demonstrating in your community.
7:52 PM Blogger Vanessa Banti puts into context the arrest of a 13-year-old girl on the Brooklyn Bridge yesterday
The face of this young woman tells the whole story – barely a teenager, stars on her jacket and Invader Zim hat and red highlights framing a determined, steady smile – she probably spent most of last night sitting handcuffed in a police van that usually holds murderers, rapists, and other types of violent criminals only because she was brave enough to ask the government “please, do not fail me.” Or “please, do not let the people who would ruin my future, literally let me starve on the streets to gain ever increasing amounts of wealth for themselves, do not let these people control your actions, what you do to make our nation better.” At 13 or 14 or 15 or however old she is, this young woman and the friends that were with her might even gain an arrest record – which cripples their ability to find a job, and thus makes this decision to engage in politics pricey in a way that very, very few elected officials have ever had to pay for their participation in government.
Follow the link to see the photo of the girl arrested. She is smiling in the photo.
7:51 PM Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz visited Occupy Wall Street today.
7:50 PM Photo album of Occupy Chicago
5:35 PM The scene at Liberty Park a few hours ago (via @jopauca)
5:28 PM Yes, protesters were likely kettled on the pedestrian walkway on the bridge. (See here.)
5:11 PM This image getting a lot of circulation. Let’s make sure more Americans see this:
4:45 PM More evidence of how Occupy Wall Street is not “disorganized”—this board gives people ways to assist with occupation operations (via @Colin_Jones):
4:02 PM This video shows a police officer telling protesters at the front of the march that if they do not leave the road they will be arrested. The protesters then go on to chant, “Take the bridge! Take the bridge!” This only makes the video of police leading the protesters more difficult to explain. (h/t yellowsnapdragon)
So far, it’s pick-your-own cause, with grievances ranging from bank bail-outs to animal testing, and yet what most of the mainstream media seems to have missed is the fact that the occupation itself is its own demand. It’s a symbolic and practical reappropriation of space at the heart of the world’s most financially powerful square mile, an alternative community opening up like a magic window on a fairer future.
3:40 PM An example of the kinds of charges occupiers are receiving for marching onto the bridge—one occupier who we’ve been tracking since the action began:
3:00 PM In case you missed it: NBC’s Richard Engel tweeted this yesterday just before the mass arrest:
12:29 PM For those compelled to help keep this growing movement alive and well, here is where to go to donate money. For making non-monetary items (like sending goods or supplies the occupation needs), here is a mailing address:
The UPS Store
Re: Occupy Wall Street
118A Fulton St. #205
New York, NY 10038
*Money orders only please, cannot cash checks yet. Non-perishable goods only. We can accept packages of any size. We’re currently low on food.
12:22 PM If the NYPD wasn’t doing anything shady, why walk over, pick out a legal observer (the green hat clearly designates him as a legal observer) and arrest him?
12:18 PM There should be no justification for the police pushing and shoving protesters. I’ve linked to the :59 mark of this video to show clear instance of police brutality. If the NYPD intended to arrest all of them, they could have just begun to arrest all the protesters.
12:13 PM PeasantParty has posted this video for today, if anyone is looking for a good protest song to go along with the spirit of the occupiers:
11:57 AM Femblogger’s post on Day One of Occupy DC
11:54 AM This clip—only fourteen seconds—shows the police leading protesters on to the street on the Brooklyn Bridge.
11:50 AM Yves Smith asks, “Is JP Morgan getting a good return on $4.6 million “gift” to NYC police?”
11:48 AM KrisAinTX on the importance of this live blog, which has been going since Day One of Occupy Wall Street: “If we can’t be there, we bear witness. We analyze the information coming in. We document things in real time. We are helping.” Good work FDL community.
11:42 AM My former mentor and friend Greg Mitchell of The Nation, who in the past year has blogged the Murdoch phone hacking scandal and WikiLeaks, now blogging “Occupy USA.”
11:39 AM New York Daily News reports on Occupy Wall Street receiving mail from supporters:
Twice a day, the Occupy Wall Street movement gets mail – so much the protesters had to designate an official “mailman.”…
…”I want to thank you for the many sacrifices you are making to better this nation,” read a note that Janet Bauer of Elk Grove Village, Ill., wrote to accompany her care package. She also threw in $30 in cash. “I’m a 51-year-old permanently disabled person who is unable to join you – but know my heart and hopes are with you.”
11:32 AM NYT‘s Ginia Bellafante redeems herself with this report that for the most part fairly contextualizes the arrests of protesters yesterday and in the past weeks. The report mentions some details on protest history in New York. The only thing that is terribly awkward is the mention of the “left’s ruling class” and whom Bellafante dubs the “left’s ruling class.” I don’t know if the left has a “ruling class.” If it does, I don’t know who holds the power to convince people to mobilize and protest.