Protesters cause mayhem across city ahead of B’klyn Bridge march, 177 arrested
Last Updated: 4:43 PM, November 17, 2011
Anti-Wall Street protesters clashed with cops throughout the day as they continued the mayhem by mounting an afternoon assault on New Yorkers that included swarming the Brooklyn Bridge.
The move came hours after Occupy Wall Street protesters marked the movement’s two-month existence by attempting to march toward the New York Stock Exchange.
The protest near Wall Street this morning was the start of a massive, day-long citywide demonstration.
“Make no mistake about it, if anyone’s actions cross the line … we will respond accordingly,” Mayor Bloomberg warned during a news conference this afternoon, pointing out that protesters had provoked cops. [LA replies: if Bloomberg had done his job and enforced the law by clearing out the encampment two months ago, the Occupy movement would not have built up and reached this stage where it is causing such disruption and damage. Yet no one in the city criticizes Bloomberg for his two-month-long complicity in OWS. Why? Because they have ALL been complicit in OWS. For example, it was only on November 3, six weeks after the occupation began, that the “conservative” New York Post called for Zuccotti Park to be cleared. And it was only AFTER the Post called for Zuccotti Park to be cleared, that the chestless wonders at National Review—whose idea of “conservatism” is holding a wet finger to the wind—followed suit.]
Police confiscated about a dozen metal devices comprised of metal sleeves welded together and designed to accommodate individuals who planned to lock themselves to the entrances of Wall Street businesses this morning.
In total, the NYPD said 177 had been arrested; five of whom were charged with assault.
“Those that break the law or assault other people, particularly our first responders, are going to be arrested,” the mayor vowed.
The march began peacefully, but quickly grew tense and escalated as cops arrested 60 people that had tried to jump over barricades near Wall Street. Others were cuffed and hauled off after they sat on the ground in defiance after cops had ordered them to scatter.
“My question is how is that illegal to stand there? I got pushed and stepped on. This is the United States of America. I can walk on any sidewalk I want to,” whined Jessica Allure, 24, a student.
Armed with helmets and batons, cops were in position near the Brooklyn Bridge, where a group of marchers are expected to show up at 5 p.m. Their last organized hike across the span resulted in more than 700 arrests on Oct. 1.
In total, seven police officers were injured in today’s chaotic series of events. One of them suffered a cut on his hand that required 20 stitches after a protester tossed an unknown object at him.
Four others were hurt this morning when a demonstrator threw liquid—possibly vinegar—in their eyes.
Organizers have said they were energized by Bloomberg’s decision to clean out the squalid tent city at Zuccotti Park this past Tuesday, resulting in 230 arrests.
The NYPD had been prepared for all-out war—adding an extra 1,000 cops per shift and calling in extra officers throughout the day.
The massive police mobilization is on par with the 2004 Republican National Convention—although today’s protests marking the two-month mark of the movement are expected to be far more widespread.
Here is a timeline of today’s events:
—The day began when a contingent of 500 protesters gathered near Zuccotti Park at 7 a.m. and walked towards Wall Street.
At 8 a.m., a large group gathered on the east side of Broadway and splintered into two groups in an effort to fool cops.
“All day, all week, occupy Wall Street,” the protesters chanted as they flooded Nassau and Pine streets.
Another crowd of unruly protesters on Broad and Beaver streets also got into a skirmish with cops.
Cops were prepared even though as many as 500 protesters had clogged the streets, pushing and shoving police officers who tried to stop them. Police in riot gear had ordered them to stay away as cops barricaded many of the protesters in an effort to thwart them from blocking traffic and getting near Wall Street.
—OWS protesters never got close to the stock exchange and the market opened as normal at 9:30 a.m. Traffic along Broadway was briefly halted, causing city buses to take detours.
—After the 60 arrests near Wall Street this morning, the protesters retreated north along Broadway near Trinity Church. Demonstrators eventually went back to Zuccotti Park, which has been their base since Sept. 17.
A fracas between cops and protesters erupted in the park at about 11 a.m. when demonstrators took down police barricades. Protesters streamed into the park when a few people grabbed a metal barricade and started dragging it, screaming “Whose fences? Our fences!”
That’s when cops moved in to restore order, making several arrests and putting the barricades back into place.
—At about 1:40 p.m., police started forcefully clearing Zuccotti Park, shoving protesters with their batons and making more arrests. The fracas became bloody after a cop’s hat was flipped off his head.
Witnesses said they were unsure what sparked the police action, but said no warning was issued. Protesters were penned inside the park as cops allowed no one to enter or exit the area.
—At about the same time, a contingent of protesters decided to storm City Hall, but unknowingly ran to the Department of Education building on Chambers Street. Once there, they comically chanted, “Bloomberg must go! Bloomberg must go!”
Finally, one of the clueless demonstrators realized the mistake and told the others: “This isn’t City Hall?”
They then ran to 1 Centre Street, where one exclaimed: “There it is! That’s City Hall!” and the chanting resumed.
—At 3 p.m., Union Square became the site of renewed protests. Over 500 people marched there from Zuccotti Park and converged onto the area.
About an hour later, protesters closed off 14th Street and Fifth Avenue to car traffic when they started marching in the middle of the street. Cops formed a human barricade in an effort to stop them from moving forward as protestors slowly made their way downtown.
Protesters eventually heeded the police’s warning and marched on the sidewalks.
Many of them were NYU students who complained of tuition hikes, chanting “We are the 99 percent!”
—At the same time, other groups of demonstrators fanned out to 16 transit hubs in all five boroughs in an effort to block straphangers from getting around the city.
Dozens of protesters took various subways lines to Foley Square in lower Manhattan to attend a large rally. The subway occupation caused very little disruption to commuters trying to get home.