East Harlem Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito Arrested at OWS Protest

By Jeff Mays on November 18, 2011 6:38am | Updated on November 18, 2011 7:42am

East Harlem Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito was arrested Thursday evening after performing civil disobedience by blocking the roadway of the Brooklyn Bridge as part of Occupy Wall Street's "Day of Action."
East Harlem Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito was arrested Thursday evening after performing civil disobedience by blocking the roadway of the Brooklyn Bridge as part of Occupy Wall Street's "Day of Action."
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LOWER MANHATTAN — East Harlem Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito was arrested Thursday evening after allegedly blocking the roadway of the Brooklyn Bridge as part of Occupy Wall Street's "Day of Action."

Mark-Viverito was among dozens arrested, including Brooklyn council member Jumaane Williams, for sitting on the approach to the Brooklyn Bridge. Police say more than 250 people were arrested Thursday in association with the protests around the city.

"Crossing the street to the Brooklyn Bridge. Here we go!" Mark-Viverito tweeted shortly before the action just after 6:30 p.m.

She followed up with a tweet saying:  "Sitting here on the street at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge."

Williams was also arrested in September after a run-in with police during the West Indian Day parade.

Mark-Viverito was released shortly after 11:30 p.m. from a Queens police station.

"We need to send the message out strong that we want equity and  economic justice," Mark-Viverito said in an interview shortly after being released.

"It's an incredible day in New York City and all over the country. The message is resonating across the country."

Cheering them on but not taking part in the civil disobedience was Washington Heights councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, said Mark-Viverito's Deputy Chief of Staff Joseph Taranto. Rodriguez spent 17 hours in jail after being arrested by police during the sweep on Zuccotti Park Tuesday morning.

Mark-Viverito and Williams were arrested without incident by police after a brief civil disobedience with labor and community leaders.

Organizers of the protest said the sit-down was a planned act.

"People are going out into the streets because it means something to them. People are feeling like they are not being heard," said Mark-Viverito

Mark-Viverito is co-chair of the council's progressive caucus and co-vice chair of the Black, Latino and Asian caucus. She recently won top honors on New York City Council's Human Rights Report Card from the Urban Justice Center for the second year in a row.

East Harlem Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito before getting arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge Thursday night.
East Harlem Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito before getting arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge Thursday night.
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Mark-Viverito said she hoped the arrest would spark more Occupy Wall Street events further uptown. The lack of diversity among Occupy Wall Street protesters has been well-noted.

"I am interested in getting the message to the neighborhood. I want to hear what Occupy Wall Street means to my community in East Harlem and what ways can we deal with this," said Mark Viverito.

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