Occupy Wall Street Anniversary Ends With Arrests
Demonstrators chanted and held meetings to celebrate a movement that has brought attention to economic equality. But the NYPD said officers had to take action when protesters started breaking park rules, according to the Associated Press.
"They set up tents. They had sleeping bags," New York Police Det. Brian Sessa said.
Electrical boxes also were tampered with and there was evidence of graffiti, the AP reported.
There was no official tally of the number of arrests, but witnesses predicted about 40 demonstrators were taken into custody, the Wall Street Journal reported. Some protesters accused the NYPD of using excessive force to remove them from the park.
"They were beating us and hitting us," said Felix Rivera-Pitre, 38. "They came at us with batons and started pushing everyone out of the park."
Around 11:30 p.m. ET, officers began plucking protesters from the crowd and leading them out of the park in handcuffs, The New York Times reported. Demonstrators chanted, “we are not afraid” as they sat down and locked arms to await the approaching police officers.
After emptying the park of protesters, NYPD officers and private security guards placed a ring of metal barricades along the park’s perimeter, and those arrested were placed inside a city bus and transported away, according to The N.Y. Times.
Critics have questioned whether Occupy Wall Street had the resources to regain its momentum. Earlier this month, the financial accounting group in New York City reported that just about $119,000 remained in Occupy’s bank account, according to the AP. That is the equivalent of roughly two weeks worth of expenses.
But some demonstrators said that they are satisfied with what the group has accomplished over the last six months.
"It's changed the language," said Stacy Hessler, a 39-year-old Florida woman, who joined the Manhattan protests last October. "It's brought out a lot of issues that people are talking about. And that's the start of change."