The day after: Anarchists vs. police in Manhattan

Stuart Lawrence stuartwl at walrus.com
Sun Feb 3 16:50:15 MST 2002


ROOTS MEDIA COLLECTIVE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Kate Cooper
(917) 374-3807

ACTIVISTS ARRESTED IN ACTION AGAINST POLICE RESTRICTIONS ON PROTEST; DOZENS
INJURED; PRESS CONFERENCE CALLED FOR TOMORROW

FEBRUARY 3, 2001 - Sixty activists were arrested this afternoon by New York
Police while performing a "snake march" along the sidewalks of the East
Village, while dozens of others were beaten and pepper-sprayed by police.
Police told the People's Law Collective, an anarchist legal collective, that
as many as 50 more may still be arrested.

The snake march, a direct-action protest tactic in which activists link arms
and dance along streets and sidewalks in an unpredictable route as a way to
reestablish public space for festivity and free expression, began at St Marks
Place and Second Avenue. Marchers had reached Second Avenue between 12th and
13th Streets at about 1:30pm when fully-geared riot police, with two
corrections vans, ambushed them.

The 60 arrests were accompanied by dozens of injuries, as police knocked to
the ground a group of activists who were crossing the street legally but were
not engaged in the march. At least one person was knocked unconscious, picked
up and placed in a corrections van.

One report said that Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Chief Raymond Kelly were on
the scene observing the police actions.

The march was called by the Anti-Capitalist Convergence, a New York-based
collective of anti-authoritarian, anti-capitalist activists that had also
participated in yesterday's anti-World Economic Forum march from 59th Street
and Fifth Avenue to the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Members of the ACC were
subjected to an unprovoked attack from police at that march; police charged
the crowd of activists, beat and pepper-sprayed many, and hauled 20 out for
random arrests. The 20 are being arraigned today at 100 Centre Street, after
having spent 12 hours yesterday in a police van without water or
communication.

"The police overreacted," Joe Keady, a member of Anti-Capitalist Convergence,
said of today's incident. "There was such a buildup to the World Economic
Forum protests yesterday, and they spent that whole day with nothing really
to do. They were bored, and I guess they decided to make some action for
themselves."

Keady suspects the marchers were "profiled" by police, who may have been
tipped off that the march was going to take place. However, "there's no
excuse for a vicious attack like this," Keady says.

Roots Media Collective is calling a press conference on the incident for
tomorrow afternoon at the Walker Space, 56 Walker Street in Manhattan, to
present more information on this incident and what legal action may be taken.
Roots Media Collective is a group of independent journalists and media
activists that was formed in 2000 and is based in New York City.

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