Occupy Wall Street executed a series of complex direct actions intended to disrupt vehicle and foot traffic in Lower Manhattan this morning, turning the Financial District into a churning mass of protesters, police, and people just trying to get to work amid the commotion. The largely peaceful protests were punctuated by periodic bursts of violent arrests, as the NYPD continued its tactic of targeting seemingly random protesters to detain in their attempts to maintain order. As of 11:30 this morning, the NLG reported 104 arrests, including at least one journalist. UPDATE: The NYPD tells us that as of noon, they'd made 124 arrests, mostly for disorderly conduct.
A photographer who witnessed the arrest identified the journalist as Julia Reinhart, and that's since been corroborated. The photographer stated that Reinhart was plucked from a crowd, seemingly at random, and arrested, apparently because she lacked NYPD press credentials. She was reportedly wearing her National Press Photographer Association [NPPA] identification at the time.
The first major action we witnessed occurred around 8 a.m. at Pine and Nassau Streets, within view of the New York Stock Exchange. As several hundred protesters clogged the intersection, the police became outnumbered, and the protest's numbers swelled to nearly a thousand people before a contingent of police in riot gear began shoving protesters back onto the sidewalks, arresting several for obstructing traffic.
As soon as the police saturated the intersection, demonstrators dispersed to form other concentrations, which was part of the plan: to create roving clusters of protesters as opposed to a singular show of force. As protesters roamed the streets, so did massive contingents of NYPD officers, amplifying a bizarre feeling that the only people populating the Financial District were police and people with $2,000 camera lenses.
About an hour later at the intersection of Liberty & Louise Nevelson Plaza, a group of roughly 10 protesters linked arms and sat to form a "People's Wall" to obstruct traffic. As NYPD officers approached them, they quickly dispersed.
Minutes later, a commotion arose from a group of about 40 people on the south eastern corner of Pine and William Streets, as NYPD officers dove into the crowd to pull out a protester who had be walking two small dogs. It was unclear why he was singled out for arrest. Moments later, a man was tackled to the ground by several police officers, as he continued to swear at them, call them "terrorists," and kick his legs, before politely asking if he could pick up his glasses that he had dropped. Video:
Shortly afterwards, during a period of tranquility, a woman was tackled to the ground by a police officer, her face pushed into the pavement as she was being handcuffed. She told NLG observers that her name was Anna Robin before being led into a police van. It was unclear what she was being charged with.
As was the case on November 17th, when a similar attempt was made to shut down Wall Street, barricades and police officers met workers attempting to enter the area encompassing, Broadway, Pine, William, and Beaver Streets. Occupy protesters are continuing to protest and disrupt the Financial District—keep an eye on our liveblog for further updates.