More arrests after Occupy Wall Street march
A protest against corporate greed that drew thousands of people to a Lower Manhattan square led to more than two dozen arrests Wednesday night when some supporters of the Occupy Wall Street movement tried to actually occupy Wall Street.
The arrests were the only signs of trouble in the otherwise peaceful march by Occupy Wall Street and representatives of several major labor unions supporting it, but the incident was sure to further inflame tensions between police and the Occupy Wall Street movement. Since the protesters took over a downtown park on Sept. 17, three of their marches have led to arrests or encounters with police, including the one Wednesday.
A legal aid group announced Wednesday it had filed a class-action lawsuit against Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly and the city of New York alleging civil rights violations in the arrests of 700 people during a march on Oct. 1. The suit by the Partnership for Civil Justice says police lured marchers into a trap by leading them into the vehicle lanes of the Brooklyn Bridge, then hemming them in with nets and arresting them for blocking the roadway.
Police have denied entrapment and released videos showing officers with bullhorns warning marchers they faced arrest if they strayed off the pedestrian walkway. But people who were not near the front of the crowd say they could not hear the police or see arrests happening up ahead, and that once they reached that point, they were not allowed to turn around and leave.
Police have said that the 28 arrests Wednesday came as marchers who had walked from Occupy Wall Street's encampment in Zuccotti Park made their way back to the park after a rally in Foley Square about half a mile away.
Metal barricades lined the sidewalks to keep people out of the vehicle lanes and on the assigned protest route along Broadway. But police say at the corner of Broadway and Wall Street, some marchers tried to storm the barricade and head down Wall Street toward the Stock Exchange.
Read more about the incident in this report. Video taken by local news crews showed a scuffle, with one officer using a baton to try to keep the crowd back. The local Fox TV affiliate said two of its correspondents covering the incident were caught in the melee and that one was hit by a police baton and the other spritzed with pepper spray. See its report here.
More protests by groups supporting Occupy Wall Street were planned Thursday, including one in Washington, D.C., and another in New Jersey.
-- Tina Susman in New York
Photo: A police officer swings his baton to keep marchers behind barricades in Manhattan. Credit: Craig Ruttle / Associated Press