On November 5th, Occupy Wall Street protesters marched to a desolate part of Foley Square and assembled peacefully on the sidewalk in front of the Federal Court House in New York City. But police with bullhorns and that infamous orange netting rushed in, forcing the protesters off of the public sidewalk and blocking access to the Court House steps.
A lieutenant, using a bullhorn, said the crowd was not permitted on the steps. At another point, an officer ordered the protesters to leave the sidewalk, saying, “You are blocking pedestrian traffic.”
But many in the crowd of demonstrators shouted back, “We are pedestrian traffic.” The lieutenant later announced again that the sidewalk was closed, and the crowd mocked the idea that a public sidewalk could be closed.
“The police warned these people to move because of pedestrian traffic, but this is an empty place,” said Robert Rosen, 66. “Who are they talking about?”
About 20 people were arrested as a result of this attempt to protect an empty square from the peaceful protesters who were exercising their First Amendment rights.
Image Credit: Flickr - david_shankbone