A reader was on the Brooklyn Bridge yesterday with Occupy Wall Street and she wanted to give an account of what she saw:
I was a protester on the Brooklyn Bridge on Saturday, October 1. My friend and I joined the march a few blocks short of the bridge and were marching along chanting etc. As we got close to the Bridge the marchers divided, some going on the walkway, some on the road. Nobody tried to stop marchers from going onto the road. (I’ve since read reports that have police claiming they were using bullhorns to try to deter people from marching onto the road. I didn’t see or hear a single cop doing any such thing.) At the time it seemed as if either route was allowable, the split being necessary because of the volume of the march. Then, a few minutes later, it became clear that something was happening on the road. Those of us on the walkway stopped and tried to see what the commotion was about. I saw dozens of police officers in white shirts attempting to stop the people who were marching. They began pulling seemingly random people out of the crowd and putting plastic handcuffs on them. The handcuffed protesters were then taken to waiting vans. At a certain point the marchers sat down and then they started to chant, “Let us go! Let us go!” From where I was standing it was hard to understand why they couldn’t turn around if they wanted to go. Only later did I learn that the police had “kettled” them, that is trapped them in place using plastic orange fencing. It’s obvious that the police intended to use this strategy, which is why they made no attempt to stop marchers from going onto the roadway in the first place and why they had so many vans standing at the ready. Trap people on a road and them arrest them for being there.
Edit: I’m sorry, but it looks like she’s not able to take questions immediately. It’s the first time I’ve tried this “ask a question” and I think I was unclear in my directions.
* I’m in the backyard in Michigan chasing an intermittent internet connection to put this up, so I won’t be able to respond to commenters.