NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police arrested protesters near Union Square Park in the “Occupy Wall Street” march on Saturday.
“There were approximately 80 arrests, mainly for disorderly conduct by individuals who blocked vehicular and pedestrian traffic, and also for resisting arrest, obstruction of governmental administration, and, in one instance, for assault on a police officer,” Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne told WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman.
LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck reports
Protesters have been occupying Wall Street to voice their frustration with both the economy and Wall Street.
For a week, protesters have been living on pizza and sleeping on wet sleeping bags in Zuccotti Park, where the march began. It proceeded uptown along Broadway toward Washington Square Park before moving farther to Union Square Park.
“It’s been pretty rough,” protester Ignati Walsh told 1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck. “The police, they’re trying to do whatever they can to get us out of here.
“It’s been great. We’re still here, and I think we’re still here because of our resolve to stay nonviolent. We’ve had people from all over the world send in donations,” protester Justin said.
“We’re not here to make life more difficult. We’re here to help empower you to take on the real enemy, which is the greedy corporate hedgefunders and bankers on Wall Street that are making life more difficult for everybody here,” Justin added.
Police moved in with large rolls of orange mesh, corralling some of the participants and binding hands with plastic zip ties.
“We’re fighting for what we believe in, and we’re not going to give up until our demands are met,” Walsh said.
Samantha Gonzalez says she spent hours searching police precinct stationhouses or her older sister Christina, who was taken into custody.
“There were about eight cops on her that threw her to the ground,” she told CBS 2’s Dave Carlin. “To arrest someone because they are doing something wrong is one thing but when people are peacefully protesting.”
The NYPD, on the record, called every arrest justified.
“”There were approximately 80 arrests, mainly for disorderly conduct by individuals who blocked vehicular and pedestrian traffic, but also for resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration and, in one instance, for assault on a police officer,” the NYPD said in a statement.
Some spectators told CBS 2 they were glad to see police out in force.
“Yeah they have their batons out, they have all these nets out and everything, but they’re here to protect us,” said tourist Kimberly England from Salt Lake City.
One demonstrator, Eric, showed CBS 2 marks on his wrists and face, the results of what he calls police brutality.
“By my belt and the back of my shirt, picked me up and threw me over a bench,” he said.
After viewing CBS 2 and Youtube videos of the arrests, former NYPD officer and security expert Bill Stanton said it appears to him police behaved legally and responsibly.
“With law enforcement you have mace as a deterrent against danger. When you feel your safety or someone else’s safety is in danger that’s a deterrent and that may be what happened,” he said.
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