68 Occupy protesters arrested in NYC

2012-01-02 10:00

New York - Dozens of Occupy Wall Street protesters were arrested on New Year's Eve as they tore down barricades surrounding New York City's Zuccotti Park, the former home of their encampment that was dismantled several weeks ago.

About 500 protesters gathered in the park on Saturday evening, where they rang in the new year with songs and their now-familiar chant of "We are the 99%".

At about 23:00, after a relatively quiet evening, some protesters began to tear down the barricades that have surrounded the park since New York police officers evicted Occupy Wall Street members on November 15, protesters said on Sunday. Police then moved in.

"They [police] got very aggressive and started pushing people and pepper-spraying people," protester Jason Amadi, 27, of San Jose, California, said Sunday. "I got pepper-sprayed in the face."

The protesters said they worked at sections of the park in teams of twos and threes, retreating only when police converged and pulled the barricades back.

"People were collecting all the barricades and making kind of a big heap of them in the middle of the park," said protester Melanie Butler, 30, of Brooklyn. "And we were standing on it with our Occupy Wall Street banner."

The New York Police Department said 68 people were arrested, and at least one person was accused of assaulting a police officer, who suffered cuts on one hand. Other charges included trespassing, disorderly conduct and reckless endangerment.

Police were still processing the arrests Sunday morning, but some protesters had been released. Police provided no other details on the confrontation.

After the arrests, the crowd began to thin out. A smaller group of about 100 people marched in a circle near the park and then most of them left, Amadi said.

"Many of us there felt that it was a symbol of the new year, of what was to come," he said. "People protesting peacefully, but without fear."

  • goyougoodthing - 2012-01-02 11:08

    Why are the police able to barricade a public space and refuse entry to citizens.

      John - 2012-01-02 21:02

      These are not citizens, they are squatters! Squatters go to jail!

  • Eric Schollar - 2012-01-02 11:37

    Offer them jobs - they would immediately disperse never to be seen again.

      goyougoodthing - 2012-01-02 12:24

      Where would these jobs come from in an economic depression, caused by banks who were bailed out with money these people have to repay, twice now. Once for the original debt and now the bailout. I personally think Occupy is an inside job, created to effect even tighter controls on freedom in the name of safety. However, it does highlight some major issues, such as freedom of speech and freedom of movement, of which there is NONE in the USA.

  • Getafix - 2012-01-02 12:12

    Human kind will evolve soon.

  • Brian - 2012-01-02 12:39

    So ..... the NY police force are so scared of PEACEFUL protesters that they pepper spray them! Wow! NY Police = Big and Brave!!! Ocupy Protesters - simply BRAVE, and non-violent. A cop got hurt, I see. Probably cut himse;f trying to get barricades back in place, but still found it necessary to arrest and charge someone for a slight cut on his hand. Bugger the cops attacking peaceful people with pepper spray - the non-police in the park have no recourse to perceived police brutality. Welcome to the new america! If you wear a uniform you have unlimited power, and no-one can call you out on this abuse. A sick society, I believe, and getting sicker by the minute.

  • DREGstudios - 2012-01-03 04:23

    We are being subjected to a police state where protesting is not being tolerated. These evictions exemplify the suppression of our civil liberties including the right to organize, one of the basis rights set forth by our founding fathers. Police brutality is running rampant under orders from Governors who have their pockets lined with Wall Street and Special Interest monies. Stand up and lend your voice with these free posters I was compelled to design on my artist’s blog at

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