November 17, 2011

Four Cornellians Arrested in Occupy Wall Street Protest

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Four Cornellians participating in Occupy Wall Street were arrested Thursday morning in New York City as protests escalated in the city and across the country.

Royce Novak ’12, Tom Moore ’14, a Sun opinion columnist, Hope Rainbow ’11 and Chris Moore ’13, who is currently not enrolled at the University, were arrested while marching on Broadway near the New York Stock Exchange in lower Manhattan, according to Daniel Marshall ’15, who also participated in the march.

All four were released from custody late Thursday night, according to Reed Steberger ’11, a member of Occupy Cornell who remained in Ithaca. They will need to pick up their belongings from 1 Police Plaza on Friday, he added.

More than 200 protesters were arrested in New York City Thursday, according to The New York Times. Protesters organized a “mass day of action” Thursday after police cleared protesters out of Zuccotti Park — their main base of operations — on Tuesday.

Marshall and the four Cornellians who were arrested are all members of Occupy Cornell and traveled to New York City Wednesday night to participate in the mass day of action.

The Cornellians were marching on Broadway when they were confronted by about 30 police in riot gear, Marshall said.

“We were not breaking any laws. … We were on the sidewalk of Broadway, which, as far as I know, is not against the law,” Marshall said. “The riot police were impeding us from getting to the next destination.”

Marshall said the protesters did not fight the police.

“The police were standing there. We were standing there very peacefully,” he said. “The police were given an order to push us back, which they did quite violently. … They didn’t actually tell us to leave — they just pushed us.”

Marshall said that he and the other students were in the second or third row of protesters when the police began to arrest people.

“They were pushing us back into another barrier, which, ironically, the police set up so we had nowhere to go,” Marshall said. “I was pushed into a vendor cart. I slid in between that and the barrier, so I was able to get out that way.”

The other four were unable to slip past the barrier.

“They were in the middle and got trapped between the police. … I didn’t see any of them, except for Tom, who I saw got pushed to the ground and arrested by like five cops,” Marshall said. “I was right next to them. I was really lucky that I didn’t get arrested, too.”

Marshall received a text message from Chris Moore saying that all four Cornellians were in a police vehicle with four other protesters.

“It was pretty garbled. He must have been doing it with handcuffs,” Marshall said. He said he believes that the arrested Cornellians subsequently had their phones confiscated.

According to Steberger, the arrest occurred at about 9:45 a.m. Steberger said he was contacted by the arrested Cornellians at 9:50 a.m.

Marshall said that he contacted the National Lawyers Guild after the arrest. Prior to the protest, the Cornellians wrote the phone number for the guild on their arms.

Before they were arrested, the Cornellians participated in an attempt to shut down the New York Stock Exchange. They arrived at Zuccotti Park at 7 a.m. and joined a march to the NYSE, Marshall said.

“There were different sets of marches that were leaving at different times,” Marshall said. “Basically the idea was to spread out our people power and make the police have to cover more areas, more physical areas for our actions.”

The five joined other protesters in forming a “human barrier” to prevent people from entering the New York Stock Exchange.

“Our action was to try to shut down Wall Street by forming a barrier of physical people who are locking arms with one another in front of the [stock exchange] so people can’t get through,” Marshall said.

Marshall estimated that the Occupy Wall Street protesters successfully blocked the entrance of the stock exchange for 15 minutes before the police forced them to leave.

“The police would rush into the human barriers and rip people off and arrest them,” Marshall said.

After leaving Wall Street, the protesters marched nearby. At that point is when the four Cornellians were arrested.

After escaping arrest, Marshall rejoined the other protesters. In the afternoon, he went to Union Square to join approximately 2,000 other students at a “student assembly.”

Marshall said that that police presence was conspicuous throughout the day.

“There’s police on some of the roofs nearby,” Marshall said while marching from Union Square after the student assembly. “There’s three choppers.”

Original Author: Joseph Niczky