Updated Monday, 2:30 am EST. On Saturday afternoon, using the illegal crowd-control tactic called kettling, police riot squads swept the sidewalks near Union Square with orange construction nets. In the same way that ocean trawlers capture indiscriminately, officers penned hundreds of peacefully marching Occupy Wall Street protesters together with bystanders, pedestrians, reporters, and neighborhood residents. Witnesses called police targeting of detainees “random.” Freelance photographers snapped this photo of a handcuffed PBS correspondent clearly displaying press credentials on a lanyard around his neck. At least 80 of those detained were eventually arrested. Large crowds joined the protesters Sunday as reports of the arrests circulated.
Detained Women Assaulted and Maced
Citizen photographers captured graphic images of unprovoked police violence, including this disturbing 40-second clip of a police supervisor walking up to five captive women snapping photos and screaming “Oh my God,” pepper-spraying them in the eyes, and then darting away. (Update: see annotated slo-mo and an interview with one of the victims.) The apparent justification? It seems the officer didn’t like them voicing their horror while the squad under his supervision tackled, beat, and dragged a pedestrian attempting to escape the net. One nonresisting woman, seated on the pavement, was yanked to her feet by the hair. Another woman was arrested for photographing the violence.
“I saw them take a woman by the neck and throw her to the concrete,” one witness told the ABC local affiliate, which broadcast graphic images of bloodied protesters shot with a smuggled cell phone inside a police van. “We are at One Police Plaza,” the detainee told ABC. “There’s sixteen of us in the back of a van and we’re sweating. There’s a man back here who needs medical attention. He’s bleeding from his head.”
Indiscriminate Detention; Arrests Without Charge
Many detainees were simply on their way from the nearby farmer’s market or the Strand bookstore—or en route to one of the five subway lines intersecting in the area.
Eventually at least 80 of the kettled pedestrians—apparently those who really “looked like” protesters?—were held in sweltering police vans on into the evening. Others were charged with “obstructing government administration” for chanting “let them go.” Reports suggest most were kept for at least four hours without food, water, sanitation, ventilation, or medical treatment.
These events follow Friday’s hilariously inaccurate and biased reports by The New York Times (which as most readers know, I’ve found, ahem, unreliable on issues affecting young people other than Yale undergraduates).
Update: You can get the best liveblogging from Kevin Gosztola, regular communiques and video at the Occupy Wall Street Web site or anonymous, and find allied actions in your area at OccupyTogether. You’ll particularly want to view this video of Saturday’s march. Another nice op-ed at the Guardian and great reporting and analysis by freelancer Nathan Schneider of Waging Nonviolence. Also see decent television coverage by, naturally, Olbermann and Moore.
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