Arrests Reported as Protesters March Through East Village

marchDaniel Maurer At Eighth and Avenue B.

In a show of solidarity for Occupy Wall Street protesters arrested in Oakland, a group marched from Washington Square Park, as far north as 29th Street, and then back south to Tompkins Square Park – with a symbolic stop at the former Charas/El Bohio community center. Witnesses reported smashed bottles and arrests in the East Village last night.

Shortly before 10 p.m., protesters who had gathered at Washington Square Park three hours earlier made their way to the former P.S. 64 building on East Ninth Street, which was at the center of demonstrations last month. As The Local has reported, some residents want the developer who owns the vacant building to use it as a community center again.

After hearing a few words about the building’s history, the group – escorted by a column of police officers in the street – walked down Avenue C, then Eighth Street, and then Avenue B before stopping at East Seventh Street, at the entrance of Tompkins Square Park.

policeDaniel Maurer Police on Ninth Street.

Stacey Hessler, a 38-year-old Florida resident who has been involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement since October, said she considered the march a success. “We went to a community center that was being used and then was shut down and now it’s been vacant for ten years and nobody’s been using it,” she said. “I thought it was good to make everyone aware of that.”

Ms. Hessler said she saw three arrests before the march reached Tompkins Square Park.

A man who said he was 23 years old and was serving as a medic during the march (he did not want to give his name) said one of the arrests occurred on 14th Street. “I saw a guy right in front of me throw a bottle, and a minute and a half later the cops rushed in to the crowd and took this random guy down that didn’t throw the bottle,” he said. “It was a really cruel, horrible arrest.”

Occupy Wall Street: J29, Occupy Town Square, Washington Square ParkScott Lynch Washington Square Park, earlier in the day.

Miriam Rocek, another medic who witnessed the arrest, said it occurred near Third Avenue. Ms. Rocek has been impersonating Emma Goldman, the legendary East Village anarchist, at Occupy Wall Street demonstrations. She was not in character on this occasion, but said she got an opportunity to channel her alter-ego nonetheless.

“I did a modified Emma Goldman today,” she said. “Somebody put glitter on the ground and the guy with the livestream said, ‘Look at this glitter,’ and I said, ‘A revoluton without glitter is a revolution not worth having,’ and he laughed and then this cop grabbed me and went, ‘Are you the one throwing glitter?'”

Christopher Robbins, a reporter for Gothamist, tweeted about the arrest on 14th Street, as well as about another arrest involving a bottle hurled on Ninth Street between Avenues B and C: “Protester right next to me throws bottle ducks down into crowd. NYPD swoop in, arrest wrong guy, thrower gets away.” Mr. Robbins also tweeted that one person tried to climb a construction wall in front of the P.S. 64 building, apparently trying to tear it down just as protesters had torn down construction fencing outside of the vacant Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center in Oakland on Saturday.

Ryan Devereau of the Guardian tweeted that that person was arrested and also tweeted about an arrest on 14th Street: “Just witnessed police throw two small women to the ground.”

Outside of Tompkins Square Park, about 50 police officers stood by – some wearing riot helmets – as protesters demanded mic checks and made comparisons to the 1988 riots there, with an occasional chant of “Who’s park? Our park!” A paddy wagon idled and a police helicopter made a brief appearance overhead. The crowd – which by then consisted of a little over 100 people – mostly just milled around.

“This neighborhood has become gentrified. 25 years ago it didn’t look anything like this,” announced one protester who admitted he was born just 25 years ago, but said he had seen photos of the neighborhood back then. It was a little after 11 a.m. and a police officer had just told a group of musicians sitting inside of the park to hush up.

“The people who have moved in here don’t like drumming, don’t like strumming,” the man complained. Shortly after that, the crowd dispersed, most of them heading east, past a mural of Joe Strummer.

<strong>Update:</strong> According to City Room, 12 were arrested: “Three men were charged with assault and one with criminal weapons possession, the police said. Most of the rest of those arrested were charged with disorderly conduct. Three of the 12 people arrested were women. One officer sustained an injured finger.” Gothamist has video footage of a couple of the arrests.