Acclaimed Celtic Folk Band Strike a Chord With Protesters, Police Make Them Leave

03.18.12 Bucky Turco

At about 11PM, dozens of Occupy protesters with cameras and cell phones darted towards the west side of Liberty Plaza. I assumed it was another arrest, so I rushed over too. Suddenly, the sound of bagpipes and drums could be heard, then seen, as a procession of people in matching costumes started marching east on Cedar Street. Introducing… Bagad Plougastell and Cercle Celtique Bleuniou Sivi. They’re a world renowned pipe band and dance group from Brittany, a unique region of France with a deep Celtic heritage.

On Saturday morning, they were bestowed with the great honor of marching up Fifth Avenue for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, enlivening spectators. About 12 hours later, they tried to do the same for Occupy Wall Street, but this performance wasn’t going to last as long and approximately two minutes into their set, the NYPD swooped in and physically forced the traditional folk group from playing, as officers pushed some of the band across the street. The police told the group they can’t play and will be arrested if they do. Their was much confusion among the musicians and dancers, as cops detained several members. Chants of “Let them go,” erupted from the crowd across the street.

After ten minutes or so, the police allowed the visibly dejected performers to leave. When I asked an officer standing next to the Detective Rick Lee, the so called “- – – – – – – Cop,” why the had to be so rough with the group, he said that they couldn’t understand the orders officers were giving them in English and had become a “safety issue.”

Here’s a video someone else shot that shows the band’s entrance (:46 mark) and after math of their brief detainment.