Last night, thousands of protestors gathered in solidarity with the people of Ferguson, after a week of militaristic police oppression and arrests in the small Missouri town, following the slaying of Michael Brown by a cop. The crowd marched about 30 blocks north, from Union Square to Times Square.
Police used barricades secluding the protestors and formed a line to prevent people from crossing into the sidewalks around the square. Protestors linked arms and attempted to march forward towards the cops. Adam Staudacher, who marched along with the protestors, told the Wire about his experience with the police.
As the police firmly pushed against the mass of protesters, Staudacher spoke with a police officer near him, and recounted their conversation this way:
“On what grounds are you guys stopping us from advancing right now? What have your bosses told you?”
She replied, “You guys are blocking traffic, we can’t have you in the street.”
“Yeah but you aren’t allowing us to have access to the sidewalk either. Don’t you think that infringes on our first amendment rights?,” Staudacher asked.
“What first amendment rights?,” she retorted.
“We have the right to peaceably assemble and demonstrate on the sidewalk if we want to,” he explained.
“Yeah, well the first amendment doesn’t really apply here right now,” said the officer, pictured right.
Differing accounts from the Wire and the Daily News reported that four or five people were arrested last night. The Daily News writes: “Five protesters were arrested and charged with resisting arrest, inciting riot, criminal trespass and disorderly conduct, according to the NYPD. Their names had not been released early Friday.”
Smaller demonstrations were also held in Harlem, Bed-Stuy and Jamaica, Queens. (Photo: Natasha Lennard)