By Alan Neuhauser
FINANCIAL DISTRICT — Nineteen Occupy Wall Street protesters were arrested Wednesday after chaining themselves together across Broadway during a demonstration that drew hundreds to lower Manhattan, police said.
The protesters chained their hands together and spread out across the busy thoroughfare to call for the taxation of Wall Street financial institutions to fund HIV/AIDS treatment, authorities and witnesses said.
The first nine protesters were arrested about 9:45 a.m. and charged with disorderly conduct and obstruction of government administration for chaining themselves across Broadway at Wall Street, said Deputy Inspector Edward Winski, commanding officer of the First Precinct.
“It was pretty peaceful,” said witness Eddie Catan, 50, who works as a security guard at a nearby building. “I guess they expected the arrests to happen.”
Other witnesses said police used bolt cutters to slice through the chains before loading the protesters into a police van.
A few hours later, 10 more people were arrested for chaining themselves across Broadway at Park Place, Winski, said. They were all charged with disorderly conduct, obstruction of government administration and resisting arrest, he added.
They were joined hundreds more affiliated with OWS and the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) at the site about 1 p.m. for the mostly peaceful action.
Police pegged the number of protesters at about 500 to 700, while demonstrators said about 1,000 gathered for the event.