More on those arrests Friday on Wall Street, and the insane number of NYPD cops stationed in front of Federal Hall to, um, words fail here. Why are they there? There are 25 protesters allowed in the "First Amendment Rights Area" (I believe it's now just called "the stairs," as it was blurred out of the official copy of rules.) of Federal Hall, and nearly 100 cops. That's an entire little team to arrest each randomly chosen protester.
First, the video above police arrested a group of Occupy Wall Street protesters who were lying on a sidewalk at the corner of Wall Street and Broad Street Friday afternoon after a demonstrator announced that the law allowed them to do so as a form of political protest. Here is the court ruling that says "For the reasons stated more fully below, the Court concludes that under these circumstances, the First Amendment of the United States Constitution does not allow the City to prevent an orderly political protest from using public sleeping as a means of symbolic expression."
Organizers said that those arrested were trying to draw attention to statements made by commanders in the NYPD during the course of the week that protesters were not allowed to lie on the sidewalks.
Drums and singing could be heard in office buildings lining Wall Street this afternoon as protesters chanted lines like, "I get confused when the law changes every day."
Protesters at Federal Hall said the NYPD prevented them from marching on Wall Street earlier in the day. Some activist were arrested after laying down in the street, according to protesters. Occupy Wall Street member Robert Reiss, who lives in the Financial District and maintains a daily presence at Federal Hall, said he noticed officers were particularly "brutal" during today's arrests.
"They had ear to ear grins," Reiss said of NYPD officers after making arrests "They were laughing and with their colleagues they exchanged high-fives."
And now about that insane police presence, see the photo below.