The Occupy Wall Street protest took another interesting turn on Saturday, when about 700 anti-Wall Street demonstrators were arrested during a peaceful march on the Brooklyn Bridge.
Over 700 summonses and desk appearance tickets have been issued in connection with a demonstration on the Brooklyn Bridge late this afternoon after multiple warnings by police were given to protesters to stay on the pedestrian walkway, and that if they took roadway, they would be arrested, stated Paul Browne, the chief spokesman of the New York City Police Department.
The demonstrators left their home base at Zuccotti Park in downtown Manhattan and marched to the Brooklyn Bridge, where they shut down traffic as they moved from the narrow pedestrian path and onto the roadway.
Police officers stopped the protesters mid-journey and barred them from continuing across the iconic landmark. Using a technique known as kettling, the NYPD managed to contain the large protest inside a limited area, stopping their forward march.
Last weekend, the occupiers marched up Broadway toward Union Square, allegedly without a permit to do so. At least 80 people were arrested, most of them for blocking traffic or disorderly conduct. One officer, Anthony Bologna, was seen on video using pepper spray on three female protesters.
Pepper spray was used once after individuals confronted officers and tried to prevent them from deploying a mesh barrier -- something that was edited out or otherwise not captured in the video, an NYPD spokesperson stated.
Kettling was also used during the Sept. 24 march, where police used orange nets to gather and isolate protesters into small groups.
On the Brooklyn Bridge, protesters chanted and waved their signage as a response, then sat down and linked arms, refusing to retreat. At that point, police took out plastic handcuffs and began arresting people.
In April, a London high court deemed that the kettling used against G20 protestors in 2009 was illegal, primarily because police officers assaulted peaceful demonstrators. One man died from injuries sustained in the event. The ruling changed the requirements for when kettling is allowed.
The police may only take such preventive action as a last resort, catering for situations about to descend into violence, the court ruled.
Like at the Brooklyn Bridge march, protesters in London chanted slogans like this is not a riot to clarify their intention. Nonetheless, Metropolitan police were video-taped striking those they had corralled.