The police arrested more than 700 demonstrators from the Occupy Wall Street protests who took to the roadway as they tried to cross the Brooklyn Bridge on Saturday afternoon.
“Protesters who used the Brooklyn Bridge walk way were not arrested. Those who took over the Brooklyn-bound roadway, and impeded vehicle traffic, were arrested,” Paul J. Browne, the chief spokesman for the New York Police Department, said.
At the same time many protesters said they believed the police had tricked them, allowing them onto the bridge, and even escorting them partway across, only to trap them in orange netting after hundreds had entered.
After allowing the protesters to walk about a third of the way toBrooklyn, the police then cut the marchers off and surrounded them with orange nets on both sides, trapping hundreds of people.
As protesters at times chanted “white shirts, white shirts,” officers began making arrests, at one point plunging briefly into the crowd to grab a man.
“The cops watched and did nothing, indeed, seemed to guide us onto the roadway,” said Jesse A. Myerson, a media coordinator for Occupy Wall Street who marched but was not arrested.
The aim of the movement is to “express a feeling of mass injustice,” according to the group’s declaration for the occupation of New York City released Friday.
Among the injustices they name the foreclosure crisis, work place discrimination and student loan debt, and others.
The movement is not really about specific policy demands but more about an expression of opposition to ever yawning economic inequality driven by Wall Street and its allies inWashington.
Calling themselves an American revolution, the protesters say they plan to stay at Zuccotti Park in definitely.
Around1 a.m., the first of the protesters held at the Midtown North Precinct on West 54th Street were released, The New York Times reports.
The police said that those who were arrested were taken to several police stations and were being charged with disorderly conduct, at a minimum.
It is known that men and women had been held separately, two or three to a cell. A few said they had been zip-tied the entire time.
“We sang ‘This Little Light of Mine,’ ” said Annie Day, 34, who when asked her profession said, “I’m a revolutionary.”
Etan Ben-Ami,56, apsychotherapist fromBrooklynwho was up on the walkway, said that the police seemed to make a conscious decision to allow the protesters to claim the road.
“They weren’t pushed back,” Mr. Ben-Ami said. “It seemed that they moved at the same time.”
The march on the bridge had come to a head shortly after 4 p.m., as the 1,500 or so marchers reached the foot of the Brooklyn-bound car lanes of the bridge, just east of City Hall.
The New York Times also reports that in related protests elsewhere in the country, 25 people were arrested in Boston for trespassing while protesting Bank of America’s foreclosure practices, according to Eddy Chrispin, a spokesman for the Boston Police Department. [via The New York Times and Huff Post]