Busted on Brooklyn Bridge

Hundreds arrested as Wall Street occupation claims a new public space

Topics: Wall Street,

Busted on Brooklyn BridgePolice officers reach into a crowd of protesters to arrest an Occupy protestor in New York(Credit: Reuters/Jessica Rinaldi)

A large march by Occupy Wall Street protesters Saturday ended partway across the Brooklyn Bridge with the NYPD intervening and arresting hundreds of demonstrators.

I was with the marchers — an estimated few thousand people — as they made their way north from Zuccoti Park just off Wall Street toward City Hall and the bridge, chanting, “We got sold out, banks got bailed out!” Some in attendance reported it was the biggest crowd yet at the protest, which began Sept. 17 and has  begun to spread to other cities. (See Salon’s report on the Boston edition here.)

Before the march started, one protest organizer told me, “If the cops arrest 100 people, it’s the best thing they could do for us.” Indeed, media and public interest in the protest swelled after an NYPD officer pepper-sprayed several protesters last Saturday.

So with the arrests today, the NYPD may have handed the protesters a public-relations gift. Media interest is already high; as with my visit on Wednesday, I saw at least a couple dozen camera crews, reporters and photographers.

Before the showdown on the Brooklyn Bridge, the protesters moved along sidewalks amid a large police presence that was focused on keeping street traffic moving. For reasons that are not yet clear, the police decided to allow some of the large mass of people to get onto the bridge and partway across before blocking their path and beginning to make arrests.

There is still no detailed Occupy Wall Street agenda — the debate over what it should be continues — but one new feature of the protest Saturday was a slick in-house newspaper, the Occupied Wall Street Journal (click for full size):



Copies were being handed out in great numbers among the protesters as well as to interested onlookers and passersby, in effect the first semi-official flier of the protest.



The lead story, “The revolution begins at home: Wall Street protests enter third week,” is nothing if not bold:

What is occurring on Wall Street right now is remarkable. For over two weeks, in the great cathedral of capitalism, the dispossessed have liberated territory from the financial overlords and their police army.

They have created a unique opportunity to peacefully shift the tides of history like the sit-down strikes of the 1930s, the civil rights movement of the 1960s and the democratic uprisings across the Arab world and Europe today.

The four-page paper also includes a timeline that places Occupy Wall Street in the direct lineage of the Arab Spring uprisings as well as the mass demonstrations in Wisconsin against Gov. Scott Walker’s scheme to gut collective bargaining rights.

The paper published this official declaration of Occupy Wall Street adopted by the protesters by vote on Sept. 29. It does not outline goals but rather lists grievances and issues a broad call to action.

The paper also includes a list of “five things you can do right now,” namely:

– “Occupy! Bring instruments, food, blankets, bedding, rain gear, and a sense of justice”

– “Spread the word” via nycga.net, Twitter, and Facebook

–”Donate” either money or food or clothes

–”Follow the occupation”

–”Educate yourself”

There is also a rumbling of support for the protesters from organized labor, with Transport Workers Union Local 100 issuing a statement of support and 1199 SEIU providing some supplies.

I didn’t see much visible union presence at the march Saturday, but there were lots of ponchos donated by 1199 SEIU. Those two unions and several others are reportedly focusing on a large march in solidarity with Occupied Wall Street planned for this Wednesday, Oct. 5. So stay tuned.

Justin Elliott is a reporter for ProPublica. You can follow him on Twitter @ElliottJustin

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 22
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Talking Heads, 1977
    This was their first weekend as a foursome at CBGB’s, after adding Jerry Harrison, before they started recording the LP “Talking Heads: 77.”

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Patti Smith, Bowery 1976
    Patti lit up by the Bowery streetlights. I tapped her on the shoulder, asked if I could do a picture, took two shots and everyone went back to what they were doing. 1/4 second at f/5.6 no tripod.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Blondie, 1977
    This was taken at the Punk Magazine Benefit show. According to Chris Stein (seated, on slide guitar), they were playing “Little Red Rooster.”

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    No Wave Punks, Bowery Summer 1978
    They were sitting just like this when I walked out of CBGB's. Me: “Don’t move” They didn’t. L to R: Harold Paris, Kristian Hoffman, Diego Cortez, Anya Phillips, Lydia Lunch, James Chance, Jim Sclavunos, Bradley Field, Liz Seidman.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Richard Hell + Bob Quine, 1978
    Richard Hell and the Voidoids, playing CBGB's in 1978, with Richard’s peerless guitar player Robert Quine. Sorely missed, Quine died in 2004.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Bathroom, 1977
    This photograph of mine was used to create the “replica” CBGB's bathroom in the Punk Couture show last summer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. So I got into the Met with a bathroom photo.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Stiv Bators + Divine, 1978
    Stiv Bators, Divine and the Dead Boys at the Blitz Benefit show for injured Dead Boys drummer Johnny Blitz.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Ramones, 1977
    “The kids are all hopped up and ready to go…” View from the unique "side stage" at CBGB's that you had to walk past to get to the basement bathrooms.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Klaus Nomi, Christopher Parker, Jim Jarmusch – Bowery 1978
    Jarmusch was still in film school, Parker was starring in Jim’s first film "Permanent Vacation" and Klaus just appeared out of nowhere.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Hilly Kristal, Bowery 1977
    When I used to show people this picture of owner Hilly Kristal, they would ask me “Why did you photograph that guy? He’s not a punk!” Now they know why. None of these pictures would have existed without Hilly Kristal.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Dictators, Bowery 1976
    Handsome Dick Manitoba of the Dictators with his girlfriend Jody. I took this shot as a thank you for him returning the wallet I’d lost the night before at CBGB's. He doesn’t like that I tell people he returned it with everything in it.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Alex Chilton, Bowery 1977
    We were on the median strip on the Bowery shooting what became a 45 single sleeve for Alex’s “Bangkok.” A drop of rain landed on the camera lens by accident. Definitely a lucky night!

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Bowery view, 1977
    The view from across the Bowery in the summer of 1977.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Ramones, 1977 – never before printed
    I loved shooting The Ramones. They would play two sets a night, four nights a week at CBGB's, and I’d be there for all of them. This shot is notable for Johnny playing a Strat, rather than his usual Mosrite. Maybe he’d just broken a string. Love that hair.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Richard Hell, Bowery 1977 – never before printed
    Richard exiting CBGB's with his guitar at 4am, about to step into a Bowery rainstorm. I’ve always printed the shots of him in the rain, but this one is a real standout to me now.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Patti Smith + Ronnie Spector, 1979
    May 24th – Bob Dylan Birthday show – Patti “invited” everyone at that night’s Palladium show on 14th Street down to CBGB's to celebrate Bob Dylan’s birthday. Here, Patti and Ronnie are doing “Be My Baby.”

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Legs McNeil, 1977
    Legs, ready for his close-up, near the front door of CBGB's.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Suicide, 1977
    Rev and Alan Vega – I thought Alan was going to hit me with that chain. This was the Punk Magazine Benefit show.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Ian Hunter and Fans, outside bathroom
    I always think of “All the Young Dudes” when I look at this shot. These fans had caught Ian Hunter in the CBGB's basement outside the bathrooms, and I just stepped in to record the moment.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Tommy Ramone, 1977
    Only at CBGB's could I have gotten this shot of Tommy Ramone seen through Johnny Ramones legs.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Bowery 4am, 1977
    End of the night garbage run. Time to go home.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>