One day after it began, three Occupy Wall Street protesters participating in a hunger strike outside Duarte Square were arrested today shortly before noon. The protesters were there "as part of a continued effort seeking sanctuary on Trinity Wall Street's unused and vacant lot of land." Laura Gottesdiener, the strike's co-coordinator, tells us that the three protesters have been replaced by three others, "and they'll continue to strike until the guys are released." The NYPD confirmed the arrests but couldn't confirm the charges, which Gottesdiener said were for trespassing.
"Since they were arrested for trespassing, we assume that this was done on behalf of Trinity Wall Street," Gottesdiener says. After being evicted from Zuccotti Park last month, protesters briefly attempted to encamp at Duarte Square but were rebuffed. Dozens of protesters, along with several journalists, were arrested in the process. Trinity Church has been hospitable to the protesters since the outset of the occupation, and released this statement regarding Duarte Square yesterday:
Trinity Wall Street supports the right of peaceful protest, which can take many forms. That does not alter our consistent and clear position regarding Duarte Square. Trinity has provided meeting and gathering spaces as well as a tranquil place at church facilities in and around Wall Street. Thousands of protesters use these facilities every week. However, the enclosed lot at Duarte Square is not available nor is it suitable for large-scale assemblies or encampments. It has no facilities and is licensed to the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council for interim outdoor art exhibits which will resume in the spring.
Trinity supports the vigorous engagement of the issues Occupy Wall Street has raised. However, we do not condone breaking the law. We will continue to extend our hospitality to protesters and all who come to our church properties during open hours. We strive to be responsive and responsible and appreciate the many expressions of support we have received.