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Dozens Arrested Since Start of 'Occupy' Anniversary Marches

By  Jess Wisloski and Elizabeth Hagen | September 16, 2012 10:36am | Updated on September 16, 2012 5:55pm

GREENWICH VILLAGE — Dozens of protesters were arrested Saturday evening and Sunday morning, as the first organized marches kicked off three days of protests surrounding Occupy Wall Street's first anniversary.

The NYPD said at least 40 had been arrested over the weekend in protests, while another count tallied 51 people that had been arrested as of Sunday, according to the National Lawyers Guild, an independent group that monitors various protests.

Most of the arrests were made on Saturday night at a march on Broadway near Washington Square South, and around Trinity Church in the Financial District, said Susan Howard, chapter coordinator for the National Lawyers Guild.

Thirteen arrests were made after midnight near City Hall, according to the Manhattan DA's office, most of them for in the park for camping, which is an illegal use, the office said.

The NYPD would not say how many had been arrested at the Saturday march, which began around 6 p.m. when sign-carrying OWS protesters left Washington Square Park and took to Broadway heading south, moving from the sidewalks to the streets at times.

Three were arrested in a march on Sunday in the West Village, and at least 25 of those in custody had been released by Sunday afternoon with desk appearance tickets, which require them to return to court at a later date, she said.

Police officials would not tell DNAinfo.com New York what the arrests were for.

Howard said she wasn't entirely sure herself what the charges were expected to be. "We see people protesting, so I am not sure what they're picking them up for. I couldn't give any information about whatever the desk appearance tickets say," said Howard.

On Sunday, hundreds gathered on Gansevoort Street and the Hudson River Greenway, to protest Spectra Energy, and the construction of a gas pipeline in the West Village that will be supplied by fuel obtained in shale drilling, organizers said, a process thought by many to be environmentally unsound.

The group gathered at 10 a.m. with a goal of marching to Foley Square and Thomas Paine Park in Lower Manhattan.

By 11 a.m. several arrests had been made including two marchers, including Rae Abileah, 29, appeared to have been inadvertantly blocking a sidewalk, witnesses said.

Abileah, 29, who is the co-director of the women's social justice group Code Pink, spoke to DNA.com New York after she was released from the Manhattan Criminal Courthouse, around 3:20 p.m.

She was arrested after she paused in the morning's march in order to do a "bra toss" — throwing bunch of linked bras in the air — before continuing on. She was directing the effort, when an officer arrested her, she said.

"I had the bra in my hand, and all of a sudden this officer just comes over without any warning, doesn't ask us to move, doesn't ask us to leave, grabs me, and starts arresting me," said Abileah.

"I just kept saying 'Look, I'm not doing anything wrong,' and I think the cops could see that, but the commanding officer was totally out of control," she said.

Amanda Lozada, 29, of Houston, was also arrested, and said both of them were "standing out of the way of pedestrians."

"When she got arrested, I picked up my bra, and started swinging it over my head where she was," said Lozada, speaking about the police officer. When she turned around, the officer had grabbed her, too. 

A spokesman for the Manhattan District Attorney's office, which must process and officially charge any protesters, said the total count of OWS arrests since the beginning of 2012 — not including this weekend — was 1,852, but 61 percent of them were adjournments, or vacated and dismissed outright. The office did not immediately have a complete updated tally on arrests made Saturday and Sunday.

“From the beginning of this process, the Office said it would ensure fairness for defendants by individually evaluating every case that was presented to us, and we have done just that," said DA spokeswoman Erin Duggan in an e-mail statement.

"The majority of these involved first-time offenders whose cases were resolved through non-criminal dispositions, primarily Adjournments in Contemplation of Dismissal, which leave the defendants without criminal records or fines."

Saturday's march began after a calm day filled with trainings, lectures, teach-ins, and information tables attracted more than a hundred visitors to Washington Square Park, which has become the epicenter of the most recent OWS activity.

A schedule posted online of OWS protests on September 17, the official first anniversary of the protest movement, announced actions, including a linked-arm sit-in at the New York Stock Exchange starting at 7:30 a.m. Monday morning, and various protests at other sites, including a list of up to 36 "corporate targets." 

At 10 a.m., a "storming of Wall Street" was set to gather at Bowling Green.