Monk Heads Group of 780 Arrested in New York

NEW YORK–(ENEWSPF)–October 3, 2011.  The original count was 400. 400 arrested in one sitting. 400 corralled by a net, arrested and ushered into paddy wagons.

The morning count was 780. Seven hundred and eighty people arrested from a group that, on the very first night, had only one hundred sleeping in the park. The movement has exploded.

We watched above, from theManhattanside of the pedestrian bridge. From a group of three or four thousand protestors, eight hundred of them took the road instead of the foot bridge. As one protestor described, “the police were ushering us onto the lower roadway, telling us to keep moving.” The protestors marched onto the road until, “at one point they came up and started following us. They had us surrounded. It was a trap.” From the bridge, we saw the group walking up the road, followed by a slew of police cars, paddy wagons and policemen and women. When the group realized that they were surrounded, we watched them all peacefully sit down.

From within the crowd, a man in orange moved forward. The man is a monk who goes by Dada. He has been working with the medical group as a therapist for the past week. He could be seen standing around the camp, handing out vitamins and hand sanitizer, speaking on the importance of keeping mind and body healthy.

He immediately came forward; in front of the line of protestors, and sat down. He was the first one arrested; two cops carried him into the paddy wagon. We proceeded to watch from the bridge as the rest of the protestors were arrested. One by one, the police cuffed them, led them to vans and took them away. We stood on the bridge for over an hour, watching what happened below.

The bridge itself was closed for six hours, as they arrested and carted off 780 protestors. They let people with press passes, minors and “white females who look nice,” go. The quote comes from one woman who was allowed to walk without arrest. She shouted up at us from below, honestly confused as to why she was not arrested and 780 of her fellow protestors were.

After a day, most of the protestors have been released. Eleven or twelve who had warrants were not. Dada, the monk, was one of those who was not immediately released. In jail, he staged a hunger strike and refused to give the police his real name in protest of his arrest.

There were another two arrests Sunday night. A woman riding a bicycle had her bike taken and chain-sawed in half. She was then arrested for riding on the sidewalk. “I have never seen anything so horrible,” a stunned bike-loving protestor commented, “they sawed a bicycle in half—in half, with a chainsaw!”

After the weekend, Monday starts uneventfully. Apart from the hundreds of cameras littering the square, the occasional musical outburst, or the sound of traffic, the square is quiet and calm. Everyone prepares to clean up after the weekend’s craziness, and to prepare for the coming days and marches.