Flood Wall Street, a term coined for a protest by climate change activists, kicked off Monday in New York as marchers took to the streets in droves. By the end of the demonstration, over 100 persons were arrested.
The NYPD was prepared for the influx of protesters, fortifying their ranks with extra patrols and locking down portions of the busy financial district. According to accounts collected from various sources, several thousand marchers were in the area and the arrests began around nightfall. Given the scrutiny the NYPD has been under, it appears officers used a far gentler touch in handling the throng.
Several thousand climate protesters shut down a 10-block stretch of lower Broadway yesterday for nearly seven hours as part of the Flood Wall Street actions, which culminated in the arrests of 102 demonstrators.
Those arrests occurred at around 7 p.m., long after organizers had planned on surrounding the Charging Bull statute on Broadway. During similar demonstrations under the Bloomberg administration, protesters could count on being detained by the NYPD minutes, if not seconds after stepping into the road and blocking traffic (or for doing nothing at all).
“Bill de Blasio says he supports this stuff but then he expects us to do stuff to the protesters,” one police officer patrolling Battery Park said. “It’s confusing, right?”
The officer, who was chatting with a People’s Climate March staffer who stuck around for Flood Wall Street, added, “There’s no terrorists [in the protest], terrorists don’t care about this stuff. But there are professional agitators in there, so those are the people you have to watch.”
It was clear that the NYPD was determined to take a different approach, even if it meant giving many of those professional agitators more leeway.
Although the aims of the Flood Wall Street marchers was noble at its root, there appeared to be many in attendance for reasons not related to the protests. There was also considerable care taken by protesters to get arrested by the police, with one woman actually stating she just wanted to know what it was like.