Protesters speaking out against corporate greed and other grievances were maintaining a presence in Manhattan’s Financial District even after more than 700 of them were arrested during a march on the Brooklyn Bridge in a tense confrontation with police.
The group Occupy Wall Street has been camped out in a plaza in Manhattan’s Financial District for nearly two weeks staging various marches, and had orchestrated an impromptu trek across the nearby bridge over the East River to Brooklyn on Saturday afternoon. They walked in thick rows on the sidewalk up to the bridge, where some demonstrators marched onto the roadway after being told to stay on an elevated pedestrian pathway that runs along the centre of the bridge, police said.
The march shut down a lane of traffic for several hours on Saturday. The majority of those arrested were given citations for disorderly conduct and were released, police said.
The group had meetings and forums planned for Sunday at a local park they have occupied.
During Saturday’s march on the Brooklyn Bridge, some protesters sat on the roadway, chanting “Let us go,” while others chanted and yelled at police from the pedestrian walkway above. Police used orange netting to stop the group from going farther down the bridge, which is under construction.
Some of the protesters said they were lured onto the roadway by police, or they didn’t hear the calls from authorities to head to the pedestrian walkway. Police said no one was tricked into being arrested, and those in the back of the group who couldn’t hear were allowed to leave.
“Multiple warnings by police were given to protesters to stay on the pedestrian walkway and that if they took roadway they would be arrested,” said Paul Browne, the chief spokesman of the New York Police Department.