NYPD busts five Wall Street protesters for wearing masks
Just minutes before a rally against the recent arrests of protesters based near Wall Street, five more were cuffed Monday for wearing masks and charged with disorderly conduct, police said.
Despite the new arrests, dozens marched at City Hall chanting, “Hands off Occupy Wall Street.”
More than 700 were arrested on Saturday for blocking traffic on one side of the Brooklyn Bridge, while 80 were hauled in the previous weekend near Union Square.
Dozens more have been arrested for various reasons since the protesters began camping out at Zuccotti Park on Sept. 17. Several online videos appear to cops roughly handling protesters. The NYPD is investigating one video showing a woman pepper sprayed last weekend.
The NYPD released its own video Sunday, showing officers warning protesters to not block the Brooklyn Bridge.
“We want the NYPD and Mayor Bloomberg to stop the mass arrests,” said Tony Murphy, who was at the City Hall protest Monday. “The arrests on Saturday could not have happened without Bloomberg’s consent.”
“If they want someone to arrest, they’re just a stones throw from Goldman Sachs,” he continued. “They should go down two blocks and arrest people who are responsible for the foreclosures and mass layoffs.”
“Police officers don't need to check in before stopping people from putting others in danger - nor should they,” a spokesman for the mayor said.
The protests, seeking a change in social and economic policies to better address the needs of the lower and middle classes, have gained traction across the country, with similar rallies held in several cities, including Boston, Washington, D.C., Chicago and Los Angeles.
Follow reporter Marc Beja on Twitter: @Marc_Beja