UPDATE 5-More than 700 arrested in Wall Street protest

Sun Oct 2, 2011 12:05am EDT

* Protesters break away to block traffic

* Most protesters issued summonses and released (Updates with number of arrests and details)

By Ray Sanchez

NEW YORK, Oct 1 (Reuters) - Police reopened the Brooklyn Bridge on Saturday evening after more than 700 anti-Wall Street protesters were arrested for blocking traffic lanes and attempting an unauthorized march across the span.

The arrests took place when a large group of marchers, participating in a second week of protests by the Occupy Wall Street movement, broke off from others on the bridge's pedestrian walkway and headed across the Brooklyn-bound lanes.

"Over 700 summonses and desk appearance tickets have been issued in connection with a demonstration on the Brooklyn Bridge late this afternoon after multiple warnings by police were given to protesters to stay on the pedestrian walkway, and that if they took roadway they would be arrested," a police spokesman said.

"Some complied and took the walkway without being arrested. Others proceeded on the Brooklyn-bound vehicular roadway and were. The bridge was re-opened to traffic at 8:05 p.m. (0005 GMT Sunday)."

Most of those who were arrested were taken into custody off the bridge, issued summonses and released.

Witnesses described a chaotic scene on the famous suspension bridge as a sea of police officers surrounded the protesters using orange mesh netting.

Some protesters tried to get away as officers started handcuffing members of the group. Dozens of protesters were seen handcuffed and sitting on the span as three buses were called in to take them away, witnesses and organizers said.

The march started about 3:30 p.m. (1930 GMT) from the protesters' camp in Zuccotti Park in downtown Manhattan near the former World Trade Center. Members of the group have vowed to stay at the park through the winter.

CELEBRITY SUPPORT

In addition to what they view as excessive force and unfair treatment of minorities, including Muslims, the movement is also protesting against home foreclosures, high unemployment and the 2008 bailouts.

Filmmaker Michael Moore and actress Susan Sarandon have stopped by the protesters' camp, which is plastered with posters with anti-Wall Street slogans and has a kitchen and library, to offer their support.

On Friday evening, more than 1,000 demonstrators, including representatives of labor organizations, held a peaceful march to police headquarters a few blocks north of City Hall to protest what they said was a heavy-handed police response the previous week. No arrests were reported.

A week ago, police arrested about 80 members of Occupy Wall Street near the Union Square shopping district as the marchers swarmed onto oncoming traffic.

A police commander doused a handful of women with pepper spray in an incident captured on video and spread via the Internet, galvanizing the loosely organized protest movement.

The group has gained support among some union members. The United Federation of Teachers and the Transport Workers Union Local 100, which has 38,000 members, are among those pledging solidarity.

The unions could provide important organizational and financial support for the largely leaderless movement.

Similar protests are sprouting in other cities, including Boston, Chicago and San Francisco. (Reporting by Ray Sanchez; editing by Philip Barbara and Bill Trott)

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Comments (7)
OccupyHbg wrote:
Glad to see coverage of the movement. This is just the beginning. We are the 99%.

Oct 01, 2011 8:54pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
ymcordoba wrote:
HOW CAN YOU SAY THIS IS A “LOOSELY ORGANIZED PROTEST MOVEMENT” WHEN THEY’VE BEEN ABLE TO COORDINATE A 15 DAY PROTEST THAT HAS SPREAD TO 70+ CITIES AND – AS YOU MENTIONED- HAVE A KITCHEN AND LIBRARY. NOT TO MENTIONED ARE PUBLISHING THEIR OWN NEWSPAPER “THE OCCUPIED WALL STREET JOURNAL?”

I am not saying that I agree with the protesters who apparently broke off and blocked traffic, but please use something other than subtle micro-agressions and a condescending tone when writing. Thanks.

Oct 01, 2011 9:13pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
ymcordoba wrote:
There are confirmed reports from the NY Times, that police were allowing people on the bridge, then blocked the exits, penned the protesters with orange netting and then arrested them. One of those arrested wa a NY Times journalist so soon we’ll get a first hand account instead of your speculation.

Oct 01, 2011 9:19pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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