Citizens Cuffed, Beaten, Maced and Arrested in America's Tahrir Square
September 26, 2011
CBS & New York Daily News and The Village Voice
Despite having their headquarters in downtown Manhattan, the major TV broadcasters have failed to produce stories about the Wall Street protests that have been taking place in the nearby streets. Coverage appears to be limited to a few online reports and photos of the crowds of protesters and police arrests. Here is a sampling of some recent print reports from the New York-based media.
Occupied Wall Street:
Citizens Cuffed, Beaten, Maced and Arrested in America's Tahrir Square
Wall Street Protests Continue, Several Arrested
NEW YORK (September 25, 2011) -- At least five people were arrested on the third day of protests in New York's Financial District, spearheaded by a coalition of groups rallying against the influence of corporate money in politics.
Beginning on Saturday -- on what was called a US Day of Rage -- several groups of activists vowed to occupy Wall Street, to express their anger over a financial system they say favors the rich and powerful, and about a democratic process they deem to be corrupt.
Organizers of the "Occupy Wall Street" demonstration have called for 20,000 people to "flood into lower Manhattan, set up tents, kitchens, peaceful barricades and occupy Wall Street for a few months."
Channeling the occupation of Cairo's Tahrir Square by Egyptians protesting the rule of Hosni Mubarak, protesters have camped out in lower Manhattan over the weekend, seeking to occupy the center of the financial world. They hope to attract many more.
Protest organizers seek to persuade President Barack Obama to establish a commission that would end "the influence money has over representatives in Washington." Their website is occupywallst.org.
The demonstration's staging area in nearby Zuccotti Park (re-named Liberty Plaza) houses tents and cardboard used by those camping out.
WCBS Radio correspondent Alex Silverman reports that on Monday a couple of hundred people marched behind police barricades up and down both sides of Wall Street - clogging the sidewalks as financial firm employees tried to get to work.
One of the demonstrators, Robert Siegel, said that eight years working as a consultant for an investment bank was enough to turn him into a protester.
"I just shuffled other people's money around and took a cut. Nothing was being contributed. A lot was just being taken out," he told Silverman. "[I] watched the silliness compound on itself. At some point, I wanted a lifestyle that didn't consist of going up to computers to deal with angry people."
Four men and one woman were taken into custody Monday morning for disorderly conduct.
According to The New York Times, New York City Police confirmed that arrests were made under provisions which make it illegal for two or more individuals to wear masks.
Another woman was arrested as she wrote on the sidewalk in chalk.
Wall Street Protesters Cuffed, Pepper-sprayed During 'Inequality' March
Matt Deluca and Christina Boyle /New York Daily News
WALL STREET, NY (September 25, 2011) -- Scores of protesters were arrested in Manhattan Saturday as a march against social inequality turned violent. Hundreds of people carrying banners and chanting "shame, shame" walked between Zuccotti Park, near Wall St., and Union Square calling for changes to a financial system they say unjustly benefits the rich and harms the poor. At least 80 people were carted away in police vehicles and up to five were hit with pepper spray near 12th St. and Fifth Ave., where tensions became especially high, police and organizers said.
The National Lawyer's Guild, which is providing legal assistance to the protesters, put the number of arrests at 100. Witnesses said they saw three stunned women collapse on the ground screaming after they were sprayed in the face.
A video posted on YouTube and NYDailyNews.com shows uniformed officers had corralled the women using orange nets when two supervisors made a beeline for the women, and at least one suddenly sprayed the women before turning and quickly walking away. Footage of other police altercations also circulated online, but it was unclear what caused the dramatic mood shift in an otherwise peaceful demonstration.
"I saw a girl get slammed on the ground. I turned around and started screaming," said Chelsea Elliott, 25, from Greenpoint, Brooklyn, who said she was sprayed. "I turned around and a cop was coming ... we were on the sidewalk and we weren't doing anything illegal."
Police said 80 protesters were arrested or ticketed at multiple locations for disorderly conduct, blocking traffic and failure to obey a lawful order but the number could rise. Officials said protesters did not have a permit for the march and one demonstrator was charged with assaulting a police officer, causing a shoulder injury. The NYPD was investigating the use of pepper spray.
"I was shocked because it seemed like one person after another was being brutally tackled, and it wasn't clear why," said Meaghan Linick, 23, from Greenpoint, Brooklyn, who attended the rally. "I was deeply disturbed to see them throw a man [down] and immediately they were pounding on him. Their arms were going back in the air. I couldn't believe how violent five people needed to be against one unarmed man."
The protesters, joined together under the banner of an organization called Occupy Wall Street, have been stationed in Zuccotti Park since last weekend, attempting to draw attention to what they believe is a dysfunctional economic system that unfairly benefits corporations and the mega-rich.
"The central message is that in this country, there needs to be more conversation about wealth and power," said 23-year-old student Patrick Bruner.
As night fell, those detained were hauled out of vans and buses and into police precincts to be processed. Hundreds more protesters congregated in Zuccotti Park where for a while another clash with police seemed imminent, but as midnight approached tension eased as die-hards prepared to camp out for the night.
Ashley N. Fleming,
'Wall Street' Protesters Jailed after Union Square Scuffle Vow to Keep Fighting for Financial Reform
Jefferson Siegel, Simone Weichselbaum, Trevor Kapp and Bill Hutchinson / New York Daily News
WALL STREET, NY (September 25, 2011) -- The jailed Wall Street protesters emerged from their cells Sunday complaining they were pepper sprayed, roughed up, denied food and water and ridiculed by cops as "hippies."
After spending a night in crowded holding cells, demonstrators vowed to keep up their fight against financial inequality.
"It was inhumane. We were treated like criminals, like we just raped someone," said Mariana Flor, 23, a student at Borough of Manhattan Community College, who was arrested on disorderly conduct charges. She said she was squeezed into a police van with 15 other protesters and taunted by cops. "They held water bottles in front of us and drank them. They laughed at everyone and called us 'liberals' and 'hippies,'" Flor said of the police. "They told us we're losers." Police brass had no immediate comment Sunday night.
More than 80 demonstrators -- organized by a group dubbed Occupy Wall Street -- were arrested Saturday after they began marching from a gathering spot at Zucotti Park, near Wall St., to Union Square. Cops said they began making arrests when the march strayed into the streets and blocked traffic, and protesters ignored their orders to stay on the sidewalks.
Kaylee Dedrick, 24, a teacher's assistant from Brooklyn who was photographed buckled over in Sunday's Daily News, said she was still feeling the effects of being pepper sprayed by police. "A police officer, just inches from my face, pulled out a can of pepper spray and sprayed us in the faces," Dedrick said Sunday upon returning to Zuccotti Park. "I heard people yelling and screaming."
Louis Jargo, 23, of Bushwick, Brooklyn, who also appeared in Sunday's News, said he was slammed in the leg with a police baton and arrested for taking photos of other protesters.
"There was a big scuffle and I dove under a barrier to get a shot. Then I got hit with a baton on my shin," said Jargo, a New York University grad student. Showing off a gash on his leg, he said he was cuffed and spent two hours with 19 other protesters in a police van big enough for only 12. "They shoved me into this hot hell hole van. They said, 'We distribute the pain.' It was the worst sauna you could imagine," Jargo said.
Brandon Watts, 19, of Manhattan, who was arrested for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, said cops used crackdown tactics he's never heard of before. "The police put Vaseline over my glasses," Watts said. "They dragged me on the ground."
Pat De Angelis, 72, of the lower East Side, said cops were gentler with her and other senior-citizen protesters. "But with the kids, they were brutal," said De Angelis, who was arrested for the 18th time since 1961 for civil disobedience. "They don't care if they crush the kids."
More than 500 protesters retreated back to Zucotti Park Sunday, as cops ringing the park kept a close eye on them. Many protestors said the arrests made their resolve stronger to fight what they deem a dysfunctional economic system that unfairly benefits corporations and the mega-rich.
"We are not stopping. There are guys out here who plan on staying here 'til December 31st," said Nicholas Isabella, 23, of Woodside, Queens, who was also arrested Saturday. Rachel Pletz, 23, of Philadelphia said the crackdown was an "attempt of breaking us up." "But it only made us stronger," said Pletz.
Occupy Wall Street Tweets Reports of Tear Gas, Arrests
Esther Zuckerman /The Village Voice
WALL STREET, NY (September 24 2011) -- In Occupy Wall Street's eighth day, protesters claim on their Twitter account today that they have been targeted by tear gas, and at least 50 people have been arrested during their march through the city this afternoon headed toward the United Nations building [Updated per retraction from a member of Occupy Wall Street's public relations working group, marchers were not headed to the UN, but back to Zuccotti Park.] Read more with updates after the jump.
Member of Occupy Wall Street's Public Relations Working Group Patrick Bruner said that he heard accounts of the tear gas from people who were monitoring the protest's livestream and from another person who was in contact with someone "on the ground."
"I'm working on confirming that," he said. "I'm pretty sure it's accurate." That said, he added that he hasn't been able to get a first-hand confirmation.
When we reached out to the NYPD's Office of the Deputy Commissioner, Public Information we were told that the NYPD does not use tear gas and does not have it.
About 20 minutes after Occupy Wall Street tweeted about the tear gas, they added that more than 50 people have been arrested and five women were maced.
Bruner said that the arrests likely happened somewhere between 12th Street and Union Square. The report of five women being maced came to him from someone on the scene, he said, adding that that information has to be taken "with a grain of salt."
A representative from DCPI said he had not heard anything on arrests from the field yet. We'll update as more information comes in.
Update: 3:46 p.m.
Occupy Wall Street's account just retweeted this photo of a woman, who is said to have been "pepper sprayed on 12th and university along with 5 other people."
Update: 4:03 p.m.
Bruner has just issued a retraction in regards to the tear gas tweet. He told us over the phone that it was a report perpetuated by people who saw steam coming out of vents on the livestream, which they mistook for tear gas.
Update: 4:16 p.m.
DCPI confirmed to us that there have been several arrests, but does not have specific numbers yet. Occupy Wall Street is saying that in total there have been at least 55 arrested, and at least five maced.
Update: 4:45 p.m.
Bruner told us in an email regarding the reported macings that "we know that at least one has been confirmed."
He forwarded along the following video of an arrest:
Update: 4:59 p.m.
Our Nick Pinto is in Zuccotti Park, which the protesters have dubbed "Liberty Square." He reports that the Occupy Wall Street media team says there have been over 60 arrests, based on their count. Most of the arrests happened in Union Square after police kettled the march that was taking place.
Nick also tells us that Brookfield Properties, which owns Zuccotti, posted notice that the protesters have to leave by Monday, but protest lawyers say that is not binding.
Update: 5:51 p.m.
Nick tells us there is a large police presence on the scene. The protester's liaison to the National Lawyers Guild is now saying that close to 100 people were arrested today.
Update: 9:28 p.m.
DCPI told us that there have been about 80 arrests.
Update: 12:01 a.m.
Bruner just issued a retraction to members of the media explaining that, despite what he said earlier, the march Saturday was never headed to the United Nations building.
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