Over 500 Protesters Arrested After Being Kettled On Brooklyn Bridge

From the descriptions of the people who were there, it sounds as though Mayor Bloomberg's strategy is to thin the ranks of protesters with set-ups like this. The Powers That Be don't understand how many more people are waiting in line to support the Occupy Wall Street actions:

Police reopened the Brooklyn Bridge on Saturday evening after more than 500 anti-Wall Street protesters were arrested for blocking traffic lanes and attempting an unauthorized march across the span.

The arrests took place when a large group of marchers, participating in a second week of protests by the Occupy Wall Street movement, broke off from others on the bridge's pedestrian walkway and headed across the Brooklyn-bound lanes.

"More than 500 were arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge late this afternoon after multiple warnings by police were given to protesters to stay on the pedestrian walkway," a police spokesman said.

"Some complied and took the walkway without being arrested. Others locked arms and proceeded on the Brooklyn-bound vehicular roadway and were arrested," he added.

The bridge was reopened at 8:05 p.m. EDT after being closed for hours.

Witnesses described a chaotic scene on the famous suspension bridge as a sea of police officers surrounded the protesters using orange mesh netting.

Some protesters tried to get away as officers started handcuffing members of the group. Dozens of protesters were seen handcuffed and sitting on the span as three buses were called in to take them away, witnesses and organizers said.

The NY Times interviewed protesters who said, despite NYPD claims, the police never warned them they couldn't walk in the roadway:

“The cops watched and did nothing, indeed, seemed to guide us onto the roadway,” said Jesse A. Myerson, a media coordinator for Occupy Wall Street who was in the march but was not arrested.

[...] Etan Ben-Ami, 56, a psychotherapist from Brooklyn who was up on the walkway, said that the police seemed to make a conscious decision to allow the protesters to claim the road. “They weren’t pushed back,” he said. “It seemed that they moved at the same time.”

Mr. Ben-Ami said he left the walkway and joined the crowd on the road. “It seemed completely permitted,” he said. “There wasn’t a single policeman saying ‘don’t do this’.”

He added: “We thought they were escorting us because they wanted us to be safe.” He left the bridge when he saw officers unrolling the nets as they prepared to make arrests. Many others who had been on the roadway were allowed to walk back down to Manhattan.

And from a personal email:

Just got back from march on bridge. Watched everyone get arrested from above (half the march went over the walkway above the road, other half went on road below). Everyone says there were clear indications from police that marchers could go on the road. Some say cops were even blocking traffic to escort marchers onto the bridge, where they were later trapped.

In perhaps unrelated news:

JPMorgan Chase recently donated an unprecedented $4.6 million to the New York City Police Foundation.

The gift was the largest in the history of the foundation and will enable the New York City Police Department to strengthen security in the Big Apple. The money will pay for 1,000 new patrol car laptops, as well as security monitoring software in the NYPD's main data center.

New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly sent CEO and Chairman Jamie Dimon a note expressing "profound gratitude" for the company's donation.

"These officers put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe," Dimon said. "We're incredibly proud to help them build this program and let them know how much we value their hard work."

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