Occupy Wall Street Anniversary Leads to Many ArrestsNYPD well prepared for day of marches
Kimberly Devi Milner
Occupy Wall Street took to the Financial District early on Monday morning to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the movement by targeting 40 corporate financial institutions, as well as attempting to disrupt daily activities with marches and demonstrations throughout the day. According to the National Lawyers Guild, 186 of the estimated 1,000 protesters were arrested, most on charges of disorderly conduct.
"It's been a hell of a year -- we're all more stronger for having gone through it, for being evicted, infiltrated, co-opted but we're still here," said Marisa Holmes, 26 a CUNY graduate in Hunter’s Integrated Media Arts program. "A year ago today we had 100 people in the park and some bread and peanut butter, but today Liberty Park is packed,” Holmes said.
Hours before the Opening Bell, the Financial District was heavily secured with all seven intersections leading directly to the NYSE being guarded by NYPD officers in riot-gear who set up security checkpoints. Wall Street employees were made to wait in a single file line in front of the two rows of barricades with officers on horseback behind as the they had their IDs checked one by one.
By around 7:45 a.m., several hundred protesters congregated across the street from Zuccotti Park while a mobile NYPD Communications Division Command Post was set up a stones throw away on Cedar Street. The protesters then marched down Broadway towards Wall Street, some dressed in business attire. The NYPD made their first arrests of the day as a handful of protesters sat down and linked arms in front of the TD Bank at Broadway and Wall Street. One of the activists arrested in front of TD Bank was retired Episcopal Bishop George Packard, a well-known Occupy Wall Street participant.
As the protesters reached their NYPD stopgap at Wall Street, part of the group turned around back up Broadway, turning east onto Pine Street, where poker chips reading “Wall Street is a crooked casino,” and confetti was thrown into the air while brass instruments played jazzy renditions of traditional happy-birthday songs. When the march, which blocked traffic, reached Nassau Street, police cleared the intersection where several people were arrested, including The Envoy's news editor, John Bolger. A National Lawyers Guild (NLG) legal observer was also arrested at this location.
"We found it effective to keep moving, we did not find it effective to talk to the police," said Jackson, a representative from one of the four factions of the protest that.
Approaching 10 a.m., protesters continued marching on Broadway, parading in circles with music and more confetti at the intersection of Broadway and Wall Street where they successfully halted traffic, until police forced them back onto the sidewalks. Along the way protesters made pit-stops at targeted locations, holding brief speak-outs to vocalize grievances before heading to Bowling Green.
Recouping after a morning of marches and arrests, the bulk of the protesters convened on the lawn of Battery Park at 11 a.m.. Protesters splayed out on the grass to enjoy the sun while NYPD officers monitored the assembly from the park’s north entrance. A speaker told the crowd that the NLG had already confirmed over 70 arrests. By noon, Central Booking confirmed that there were 90 arrests made.
After the meeting at Battery Park, protesting groups staged demonstrations along Water Street, where protestors threw confetti and tried to disrupt activities at the branches of Chase bank, Citibank and Emblem Health. According to online video footage released by Gothamist, protesters disrupted traffic on the East Side Highway, marching back and forth over the crosswalk chanting their famous slogan, “All day, All week, Occupy Wall Street,” at around 2 p.m.
By 4 p.m., the protesters returned to Nassau Street and Pine Street and held a spontaneous speak-out honoring the past year of the Occupy movement, seeming uncertain of which way to continue the march. An NYPD officer ordered the protesters to disperse on the south corner of Nassau Street, and then immediately ordered officers into the crowd. Right before 4:30 p.m., at Pine Street and Nassau Street, the NYPD arrested a second legal observer from the National Lawyers Guild.
"They said you’re ordered to disperse, then they ran in and attacked people in seconds," said Justin Murral, 32, who avoided being arrested and continued to follow the protest.
Assuming a rough protester count of 1,000, throughout the anniversary day, an estimated 1 in 6 were arrested, weakening morale as the day progressed and the more active demonstrators were plucked off the streets. Organized Jail Support groups waited outside One Police Plaza, Central Booking and inside Foley Square, to greet arrested protesters with food, water, and support.
"This guy who was arrested with us said he couldn't feel his hands, he was a grown man and he was crying," said Ramona, 17, who requested The Envoy not disclose her last name for safety reasons. Ramona was arrested near the Charging Bull statue at 11 a.m. after the police stormed into the crowd to separate a demonstration. The high school student was charged with disorderly conduct and received a desk appearance ticket after spending roughly nine hours at One Police Plaza.
By 8 p.m., the NYPD erected the first of six flood lights that would surround Zuccotti, stationing dozens of officers on every corner of the park, as other officers waited on nearby blocks.
According to online media video footage, at 10 p.m. the NYPD raided the park, ordering the activists not to stand on benches. Brooklyn Councilman, Jumaane Williams, who had marched beside protesters in the afternoon march was shoved off of one of the park's marble benches by a baton-wielding officer.
"No city rule says you can't stand on a park bench," Martin R. Stolar, a volunteer lawyer from the NLG, told the Envoy. "The NYPD is obligated to follow the law and the Constitution."
“I’ve seen what happens in that park at night in video footage,” said freelance photographer Dante Alexander, 21. “That’s why I never stay there past midnight -- property’s trashed, cameras get busted,” he said, at a little past 10 p.m. he made his way down to One Police Plaza to do a night of Jail Support with around 60 other people.