Yesterday could arguably be considered Occupy Wall Street's coming-out party. Most significantly, perhaps, because the protesters finally emerged from that out-of-sight little downtown park they've called home for the past month and instead flooded two of New York's most visible public spaces: Times Square and Washington Square Park. After the dust settled, 92 people had been arrested in a series of standoffs with police around the city, the NYPD confirmed to Daily Intel. That's up from last night's estimates but still well short of the movement's 700-in-a-day record set two weeks ago in the Brooklyn Bridge debacle. Almost half those detained were in Times Square, according to police spokesman Paul Browne, where by some estimates upwards of 10,000 people gathered in the early evening and briefly closed down traffic.
At about 8:00 p.m. yesterday a large disorderly group on 46th Street near 6th Avenue was given at least three separate warnings to disperse and when it did not, police made 42 arrests there for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
Only after bringing in riot police and the horse brigade did the police finally manage to disperse the crowds, also around eight o'clock. Later in the evening, another showdown momentarily flared in Washington Square Park, where as many as 3,000 protesters rallied — according to Occupy Wall Street organizers — and were warned by police to vacate before the park's midnight closing time. Most quickly decamped to just south of the park, though fourteen people were arrested for violating the curfew. (Early reports had the number of arrests at ten.)
The first bookings of the day happened around 2:40 p.m. at a Citibank branch not far from Washington Square, right off NYU's campus. Several people had entered the bank supposedly planning to close out their accounts in protest. The police were then called and 24 people ultimately arrested. The bank quickly issued a statement regarding the incident.
A large amount of protesters entered our branch at 555 La Guardia Place around 2:00 PM today. They were very disruptive and refused to leave after being repeatedly asked, causing our staff to call 911. The Police asked the branch staff to close the branch until the protesters could be removed. Only one person asked to close an account and was accommodated." To be clear: no one was arrested for closing an account; we didn't lock people in our branch — the police decided to close the branch; and we didn't ask for anyone to be arrested — that is a police decision.
The NYPD's Paul Browne, explaining the arrests.
24 were arrested for criminal trespass, three of them additionally for resisting arrest, after they had refused the branch manager's request to leave.
About two hours later, five more individuals were arrested near 27th Street and Sixth Avenue for wearing masks, a tactic the cops rolled out in the early days of the occupation. Several more arrests were made at 46th Street and Seventh Avenue around 6:15 p.m. when, according to Browne, protesters there tried to topple a police barrier, in the process injuring three police officers who were sent to Bellevue Hospital for treatment. As for today, no rallies or headaches for the NYPD — the only thing on the Occupy Wall Street docket is one of their now-famous human megaphone General Assemblies, scheduled for 7 p.m. back in Zuccotti Park.