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Wall Street Protesters Arrested as Park Occupation Continues

Wall Street Protesters Arrested After Park Closing Postponed
New York City Police Department officers clash with a protester from the Occupy Wall Street movement in Zuccotti Park in New York, on Oct. 14, 2011. Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg

Fourteen protesters in lower Manhattan were arrested after a decision to delay closing Zuccotti Park, the site of demonstrations against the financial industry, police said.

Protesters arrested included those who stood or sat down in the street, Paul Browne, a spokesman for the New York City Police Department, said in an e-mail. Others taken into custody included individuals who allegedly overturned trash baskets or hurled bottles, Browne said. At least one demonstrator was detained after he allegedly knocked over a police scooter.

The arrests took place near Broadway and Exchange Place. They came after a decision yesterday to keep Zuccotti Park, near Liberty Street and Broadway, open rather than close it for cleaning.

The postponement averted a confrontation between Occupy Wall Street demonstrators, who had gathered in greater numbers overnight, and police who threatened to remove tents and sleeping bags.

As protesters filed out of the park and marched on lower Manhattan streets, more than 30 police cruisers and 50 officers gathered near the federal courthouse at the eastern end of the Brooklyn Bridge.

An Oct. 1 march onto the bridge by protesters resulted in hundreds of arrests. Protesters arrested in the march sued New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly for allegedly violating their constitutional rights.

Civil Rights Lawsuit

Five of the protesters, seeking to represent about 700 people arrested, filed a civil rights complaint Oct. 4 in Manhattan federal court, claiming police officers lured them onto the bridge’s roadway to trap and arrest them.

The National Lawyers Guild, a nonprofit bar association, is representing at least 30 arrested protesters who have appeared in court already and is seeking to represent the more than 800 other demonstrators who have been charged since the protests began Sept. 17, said Martin R. Stolar, a member of the guild.

The guild is representing four people arrested on Oct. 12, including James Lafferty, 73, executive director of the guild’s Los Angeles chapter, and his 63-year old wife, who were charged with obstructing governmental administration, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest, Stolar said.

Guy Fawkes

The other two people, aged 18 and 20, were arrested for wearing masks of Guy Fawkes, a conspirator in the 1605 plot to blow up English Parliament, who is memorialized in Britain’s Guy Fawkes Day, held on Nov. 5, Stolar said.

James Lafferty was arraigned Oct. 13, according to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.’s office.

Lafferty yelled loudly at a police lieutenant who was arresting two other protesters, causing a large crowd of people behind him to “grow agitated and express alarm,” according to an indictment. Lafferty flailed his arms and threw his weight into an officer when police tried to arrest him, causing the officer to fall, according to the complaint.

The mayor is founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, parent of Bloomberg News.

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