Despite the Occupy movement’s dedication to nonviolence, the public disturbances caused by Occupy protests has lead to thousands of arrests in over 100 cities. Even in the first few months of the protests, hundreds of arrests were made. These four events had some of the biggest arrest numbers in Occupy history.
1. The Brooklyn Bridge
On Saturday, October 1st, 2011 more than 700 people were arrested on Brooklyn Bridge in New York. Thousands of people were moving from the origin of the Occupy Wall Street protests at Zuccotti park to Brooklyn Park. While crossing the bridge, groups of protesters sat down and blocked off the bridge. While some people claim that the police were already blocking off the bridge before people were sitting down, it is clear that the arrests were made for making a public disturbance. This is the largest number of arrests at an Occupy event and it happened early on, and helped propel Occupy Wall Street into the international media.
2. Times Square
On Sunday October 16th, 2011 police arrested 92 Occupy protesters for creating a disturbance in Times Square. Still early on in the events of the worldwide Occupy movement, the protests were still bold and spreading wildly. A large group of protesters made their way from Zuccotti Park to Times Square, putting tourists face to face with the civil unrest taking place throughout New York. over 40 arrests were made directly in Times Square, but police continued arresting protesters as they left. Another group of 24 protesters were arrested while attempting to make their way north to “occupy” a branch of Citibank in Manhattan.
3. Occupy Chicago
On Saturday October 15th, 2011 protesters at Occupy Chicago had police enter their camp and start dismantling it. The police entered the Occupy Chicago camp late at night and began dismantling the camp, located at Congress Plaza near Grant Park. They arrested 175 protesters, citing city code violations, as the plaza closes at 11pm. After warning the protesters before 11pm, the police waited until after midnight before making arrests.
Considered a peaceful event, the protesters reacted by telling the police that they were showing the protesters what democracy was really like.
All 175 people arrested were released the following morning.
4. Occupy Los Angeles
On Wedneday, November 30, 2011 Occupy Los Angeles had police dismantle their camp and arrest every individual who failed to disperse. The second largest series of arrests at a single protest, the Occupy protesters maintained their commitment to nonviolence, ensuring that during over 290 arrests, the 1400 police officers that made their way into that camp that evening encountered no violent resistance.
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa credited his Police Chief’s attempts at keeping positive relations with the protesters early on during the events of Occupy L.A. for the lack of violence, but spokespeople for the Occupy Los Angeles camp stated that violence would not have furthered their cause.
Instead of releasing the protesters as they did in Chicago, bail was set for $5,000. A city spokesperson claimed that most of them had arranged to make bail, but no official reports were released afterwards.