New Years Eve Occupy Wall Street
New York City Protest March Review
by Sue Basko
The arrests last night in NYC post-midnight march were like random kidnappings. For example, police would just run up to a group of girls standing there and grab one of them. If this tactic was meant to calm people and clear the streets, that seems highly unlikely, because people tend to panic when one of their friends is abruptly grabbed and taken away for no apparent reason.
The police grabbed a green-hatted Legal Observer for having his phone out. The police were arresting someone and the Observer was observing. Police roughed him up and made him get on the sidewalk, whereupon, he pulled out his phone. They were probably afraid he would start filming, and they very roughly arrested him. The whole time, Tim Pool was filming. Footage can be see at http://www.ustream.tv/timcast
Police grabbed 2 young boys who were just standing on the sidewalk - maybe for curfew-not sure, they were very young. People were tweeting that the police were arresting a 9 year old. I think the boys looked about 13 - 15. The larger boy kept repeating: "We were standing on the sidewalk," which was true.
A few people were arrested for jaywalking or stepping in the street.
One man was arrested for beating a drum, and his friends complained that the drum cost them $55. There was no talk of how they were going to get their friend out of jail, just fond sentiments for the drum.
There was a person playing a kazoo, making an incessant, annoying hum, but that person was not arrested.
There was a very large police officer dressed in an expensive-looking gangster pin-striped suit, as if he had just jumped off a rum-running car in the 1920s.
For the big finale, the police blocked both ends of a street and wouldn't let people out and then arrested them for blocking pedestrian traffic. People pointed out that if the police let them through, they would not be blocking the sidewalk.
There was no real violence, other than the police pushing and knocking people down and roughing people up - but no crowd violence. The main thing the people did was walk for hours, which it looked like the police decided enough was enough. Some of the protesters seemed like Energizer Bunnies, going and going.
As for property damage, metal barriers in the park were damaged or destroyed, but that was earlier and unrelated to this march. On the street march, one guy knocked over a few trash cans and other protesters picked them up.
I think the constant presence of cameras helps to keep everyone on all sides much more peaceful than at protests in the past. The police were more or less kidnapping random people off the streets, but I did not see any billy clubs being used. From the looks of it, I would say most of those arrested would be very bruised and injured, which is not called-for when randomly plucking peaceful protesters out of a group.