After seven demonstrators were arrested yesterday for a variety of offenses during the continuing occupation of Wall Street, we're being told that four more have been detained today.
Sean Connors, a 19-year-old student from Harlem, witnessed one of the arrests on the corner of Broadway and Liberty at around 1:15 p.m. "I was filming a guy asking a cop a question, and then our of nowhere the cop just grabs him by the neck and throws him on the ground." Connors, who has been protesting since Saturday, was also thrown to the ground by a different officer, but not charged. The NYPD has yet to confirm any of the arrests.
Though the crowds may have dwindled since an estimated 3,000 people kicked off the occupation on Saturday, but those who remain in Zuccotti Park this afternoon claim that "at least 100 are sleeping on the ground each night." Prohibited from erecting any sort of structure (including tents and portable toilets) protesters are relying on cardboard and blankets donations for shelter and McDonald's for a bathroom.
Working the informal kitchen area, 36-year-old Seattle resident Galen Prouty said that efforts are being made to "formalize the encampment" by designating certain areas for sleeping, eating, demonstrating, and relaxing. A media station powered by a generator has been set up to continue a live stream. Asked about a lack of leadership, Prouty said, "Exactly. That's how it should be. We hold general assemblies. That's how decisions are made."
Food donations continue to flow in from across the globe and a fund has been established to keep them coming. Alexander Holmes counts himself among "the lucky ones" who was able to attend the protests from Oakland last week with his girlfriend, and the two have spent the past four nights in the plaza. "My grandfather left me a small amount of money when he died and I hadn't touched it until now," he said. "I thought this was a worthy cause and I think he'd be smiling down on me. Our voices need to be heard."
Protesters have also been trying to support local businesses, such as Liberato's, who recently did nearly $3,000 worth of business in a matter of hours. However, the owner of Aly's Breakfast, who sells bagels and coffee to white collar commuters, told us his business is down around 40% since the protest began. "My regulars won't come across the plaza anymore," he said. Aly has stationed his cart at the same spot in the plaza since 1991 and has "never seen anything like this." After being told that the protest was expected to last several weeks—if not months—he shook his head, but added, "I do hope they get what they want."
Additional reporting by Christopher Robbins