At least 14 people were arrested earlier today in lower Manhattan after Occupy Wall Street protesters marched in the Financial District following the announcement that the owners of Zuccotti Park and the city wouldn't try to force them to leave the park in order to clean it. Those 14 people (the Post claims it was 15 people) include a member of the National Lawyers Guild who was hit by a cop's scooter on video, and the man walking on the sidewalk in the video below:
Protesters said that they were just celebrating their "victory" over Brookfield Properties and the city, while charging that NYPD officers were unnecessarily aggressive with them—that included an HIV positive protester who told us that cops "tore my earring out. I remember seeing my earring on the ground next to me and it was full of blood."
Despite the violence, protesters were invigorated by the events of yesterday evening and this morning, when many heeded the call to try to clean Zuccotti Park and planned to stand their ground, only for the powers-that-be to relent on cleaning the park entirely. This was thanks in part to the pleading of several city officials, as well, which thoroughly annoyed Mayor Bloomberg.
The Post took the temperature of the crowd, and found unbridled enthusiasm. Joseph Vitulli, a 32-year-old unemployed man from Brooklyn, told them:
The city tried to intimidate us, they threatened us and tried to put us in our place. But we showed them what we are all made of and we did it without violence. We came together, we got the support we needed and we won. This is huge for us. We showed them that our solidarity and commitment to the cause is stronger than the threat of arrest. We're on a roll. Nothing can stop us now.
Now, protesters are eagerly looking forward to this weekend—among other things, there will be a rally in Tompkins Square Park, an Occupation Party in Times Square, and a protest at the London Stock Exchange. And as 22-year-old waitress Allison Schwartz, put it, the OWS protests won't be ending anytime soon: "[Today] changes everything. I've never been more confident that we are all going to make a difference. They're going to need an army to stop us now. A few cops won't make a difference."