City Gestapo corrals and arrests 700 demonstrators on Brooklyn Bridge

Submitted by Freedomman on Wed, 10/19/2011 - 20:48

NEW YORK (PNN) - October 2, 2011 - In a tense showdown above the East River, the police arrested more than 700 demonstrators from the Occupy Wall Street protests who took to the roadway as they tried to cross the Brooklyn Bridge on Saturday afternoon.

The police said it was the marchers’ choice that led to the enforcement action.

“Protesters who used the Brooklyn Bridge walkway were not arrested,” said Paul J. Browne, the chief spokesman for the New York Police Department. “Those who took over the Brooklyn-bound roadway and impeded vehicle traffic were arrested.”

But many protesters said they believed the police had tricked them, allowing them onto the bridge, and even escorting them partway across, only to trap them in orange netting after hundreds had entered.

“The cops watched and did nothing, indeed, seemed to guide us onto the roadway,” said Jesse A. Myerson, a media coordinator for Occupy Wall Street, who marched but was not arrested.

None of the protesters interviewed knew if the bridge march was planned or a spontaneous decision by the crowd. But all insisted that the police had made no mention that the roadway was off limits and that police officers had walked beside the crowd. After allowing the protesters to walk about a third of the way to Brooklyn, police then cut the marchers off and surrounded them with orange nets on both sides, trapping hundreds of people.

Earlier in the afternoon, as many as 10 Department of Correction buses, big enough to hold 20 prisoners apiece, had been dispatched from Rikers Island in what one member of the local Gestapo said was “a planned move on the protesters”.

Etan Ben-Ami, 56, a psychotherapist from Brooklyn who was up on the walkway, said the police seemed to make a conscious decision to allow the protesters to claim the road. “They weren’t pushed back,” he said.

Ben-Ami said he left the walkway and joined the crowd on the road. “It seemed completely permitted,” he said. “There wasn’t a single policeman saying ‘don’t do this’. We thought they were escorting us because they wanted us to be safe.”

Ben-Ami left the bridge when he saw officers unrolling the nets as they prepared to make arrests. Many others who had been on the roadway were allowed to walk back to Manhattan.