Wall Street Protesters Say They Increasingly Court Confrontation, Arrests

Monday, October 17, 2011

Organizers of the anti-Wall Street protest acknowledged that after a month of demonstrations there is an increased willingness by members to confront the police during marches — even if it means getting arrested.

Sandra Nurse, a member of Occupy Wall Street's direct action working group, argued that "the envelope needs to be pushed" by demonstrators, but said the means of doing that are heavily debated.

"There is a very contentious argument within this movement about 'What is non-violence?'" she said. "And because the concept of non-violence is such a loaded conversation to have and everyone has a different perspective on it, it's very difficult to mobilize a lot of people to step up and push the envelope."

Among the 92 arrests made Saturday in connection with the Wall Street protests, several took place after a group of demonstrators tried to topple police barricades at Times Square. The incident resulted in three officers being treated for injuries at Bellevue Hospital before being released. Additionally, 14 protesters were also arrested in Washington Square Park, refusing police orders to leave at midnight, when the park closes.

"They're going to jump a barricade here or there," said protester Brendan Burke, who oversees security at Zuccotti Park, "and they're going to keep this a protest rather than a balloon-carrying sidewalk march."

According to Ashley Cunningham, another direct action organizer, "there are people that would kick over a barricade and say that's non-violent, there are folks that would call that violent."

She said the discussion among protesters had also included the breaking of windows, which took place during the weekend protests in Rome.

For Cunningham, confrontation with the police is necessary in order to ultimately change such laws and restrictions, such as restricted access to public parks.

"Challenging something like barricades in a situation like a public march with 10,000 march, it's not just symbolic," she said. "It's taking back space in an urban environment, which is a political act, and people realizing that we have a constitutional right to assemble and the barricades are impeding that process and infringing upon people's civil liberties."

Some demonstrators argued that police interactions during the month-long protests have made them increasingly committed to the protests.

Hero Vincent, a 21-year-old artist from North Carolina, was arrested for disorderly conduct while marching to Times Square on Saturday — he argues he wasn't breaking any laws. Although this was his third arrest since the protests began, he remains undeterred.

"It actually builds my momentum towards the movement," he said, "and builds my disgust toward the institution of the police."


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Comments [19]

If the Occupiers turn to "pushing the envelope" with police, they'll be undermining their professed values and what they've achieved so far.

Oct. 17 2011 11:52 PM
Rachel Styles

Americans blame the federal government more for the nation's economic plight than they do the primary target of the Occupy Wall Street protests --- big financial institutions. If you don't know why people are protesting on wall street, this article gives a very good explanation on it.

Oct. 17 2011 08:20 PM
ee from new york

alan, good job of reporting.
(saw all your photos on flickr).

Oct. 17 2011 07:24 PM
Charles from NYC

These protestors have no basis for their arguments.

Oct. 17 2011 06:00 PM
Swood from Brooklyn

Time to come to town. Time to take some heads. Time to burn down NYC!

Oct. 17 2011 05:11 PM
Rabbi Dingles from San Francisco, CA

Yep, Hope and Pocket Change. That's what we got.

Oct. 17 2011 04:36 PM
RCT from NYC

Terry is full of it. Watch my YouTube video if you want a real idea of who attended the demonstration.

Oct. 17 2011 03:03 PM
Terry from at work

I stumbled upon the OWS demonstration in Times Square on Saturday night. The crowd was made up of mostly young adults and what appeared to be middle-aged civil servants and some holdovers from 1968. (The aged hippies were the best laugh. They now get a fat Social Security check every month and their medical bills go to the taxpayer, and there they were complaining. Ingrates.)

The crowd was peaceful and some carried banners reminding participants to remain peaceful. Heard the usual rants against the 99% and Wall Street but saw not one banner seeking a job.

I can understand some of the youngsters' gripes. Some societal institutions have failed them:

Many grew up in single-parent homes; the security of a nuclear family failed them.

Many got expensive degrees in unmarketable fields of study and are laden with debt. The government will guarantee a loan to any Tom, Dick, and Sally to pursue useless diplomas. So people take the loan and get stuck with the debt; college failed them.

The president promised hope and change. A good leader is one who unifies people and then leads most all toward a goal. Instead, this president has fanned the flames of class warfare and engendered divisiveness and anger. Moses told us 3500 years ago not to covet your neighbors possessions. Our present politics is that of envy; the president failed them.

But it isn't all bad. Although I didn't spot the Naked Cowboy, plenty of immigrant street vendors did a brisk business selling kabobs, pretzels, nuts, etc.. They found work.

Oct. 17 2011 02:36 PM
Steve from Bloomfield, NJ

In all commentary about the 'Occupy Movement', not enough credit has been given to Mayor Bloomberg, who gave it enough breathing room in his city for it to grab the media's attention and the world's imagination, and become a global phenomenon. It wouldn't have lasted long enough to make a blip on page 8 of the Post back in Giuliani's day, believe me. He'd have sent in the 'quality of life' riot police and that would've been it...

Oct. 17 2011 01:03 PM
Rhende from Whitleyville, TN

WYNC...and others of journalsitic bent...are ignoring questions of civil liberties and open hostility by NYPD.

Camera operator bashing and intimidation by NYPD...what of this?

Individuals in bank building prohibited from leaving, but arrested...this appears worthy of investigating!

General, the rough shod manner of NYPD, in general, of dealing with protesters. The members of NYPD act more in the manner of being unruly and thug like than protesterrs...ask the question!

Oct. 17 2011 12:58 PM

See below, from demonstration on Saturday. At least 50,000 attended -- packed crowd, like New Year's Eve, from 42nd Street to 54th Street (said the police); and that doesn't count the side streets. Some will confront; most will support; the agenda is in fact clear: over the past 30 years, wealth and power has shifted to the wealthy few and needs to be reclaimed by the many. The program/legislation will follow.

Oct. 17 2011 11:38 AM
Sick of It All from NYC

Aren't cops part of the 99%?

Oct. 17 2011 10:36 AM
C. Tennyson Crowe from New York, NY

I believe one of your callers just recommended a book from National Vanguard Books. I'm pretty sure, and a quick internet check seems to confirm, that National Vanguard Books is a White Supremacist publishing company, associated with the White Supremacist National Alliance. If I have that wrong, sorry. If I’m right, your listeners would do well to take that into consideration when seeking out the recommended book.

Oct. 17 2011 10:29 AM
Angela from Brooklyn

The Occupy Wall Street does have a manifesto.

Oct. 17 2011 10:24 AM
Limore from Edgatown, MA

"what do they want?" is not the right question.
They are making a few points:
1. The people who caused the collapse in 2008 did many things wrong and criminal.
2. It is not all about the financial markets - it is about PEOPLE.
3. They counteract the irrational accepted notions of political right and and tea party, who lost any sense of empathy and fairness.

Oct. 17 2011 10:17 AM
alan from sunset park/brooklyn

On October 15, I was one of the people who began the day at noon at Zuccotti Park, when we marched up Broadway to Washington Sq Park, then to Times Square.
What began as a coexistence between the people and the NYPD, evolved into more tense situation, as they brought in more police, horses, squads with riot helmets and handcuffs and orange netting. It was clearly provocative.
Around 6:30, I found myself at 46th street & 7th Ave. The street was closed and we all stood behind one of the hundreds of metal barricades erected by the police, some moments before.
Across Broadway, we could see the horses getting excited. We were not sure if they were being used to charge people behind those barricades, or if the horses themselves were getting excited due to the noise and chanting and tension.
Then we saw people being arrested, but were not sure what happened. The tension naturally got stronger, along with the chanting.
Then quickly, without warning, a group of police charged the barricade in front of us, grabbing it and pushed it towards us. We all naturally reacted by rushing back to avoid arrest or injury. I ran back to the sidewalk then turned around to see what was happening.
In the rush, an older woman was knocked to the street and hit her head on the pavement. I moved over to her to help. She was bleeding from the side of the head. The group of us calmed and comforted her. Soon someone brought some napkins and water; then a woman who works on one of the tour buses, brought a clean white towel; and finally someone with a medical kit brought alcohol and bandages.
The woman did not seem badly hurt; as such head wounds bleed worse than the actual damage.
I learned quickly that she was not only 81 years old, but also a survivor of the Nazi Holocaust of the Jewish people. She was saved as a child, but her entire family perished. And here she was, with some of her adult children, in Times Square of a drink or dinner and simply stopped to watch what was going on. I am convinced their real sentiments were with the Occupy Wall Street movement.
I then noticed that the right sleeve of my old and ragged denim jacket was stained with her blood.
Eventually the official medics arrived, bandaged her head and I think she may have been taken to a hospital emergency room for examination. She regained her composure and was a lovely confident woman.

this link are my pics from that day:

alan roth

Oct. 17 2011 09:14 AM
Tom P from Fanwood, NJ

Others have the right to move about the city, as well. A public park means that it should be available to the public. It being "occupied" prevents that.

Oct. 17 2011 09:08 AM
Chris from Columbus

"Push the envelope" pretty euphemism for "let's get a little violent" or everyone will ignore us.

Oct. 17 2011 08:48 AM
Rhende from Whitleyville, TN

As usual "commercial" interests...banking, theatre ticket purchasers, etc..., have a priorotiy over citizen protesting. At least the NYPD justifies "clearing protestors" in order that pecuniary interests might prevail in Times Square.

That commercial "corporate" pursuits are found to be greater than citizenship interests is such a profound statement of the very reason that "Occupy Wall Street" has widespread support!

Oct. 17 2011 03:30 AM

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