50 arrested in Occupy Wall Street demonstration

From CNN.

A protester is arrested during Saturday's Occupy Wall Street demonstration in New York.

A protester is arrested during Saturday’s Occupy Wall Street demonstration in New York.

  • Those arrested attempted to scale a fence belonging to a church, NYPD spokesman says
  • The arrests “may have stymied plans to cut through the fence on multiple sides,” police say
  • Church rector says the lot is un-equipped for a winter encampment
  • Occupy spokesman expresses disappointment with the church’s position

New York (CNN) — New York police arrested 50 protesters Saturday on what organizers from Occupy Wall Street were dubbing a day to “re-occupy,” coinciding with the movement’s three-month anniversary.

Those arrested were charged with trespassing after they attempted to scale a fence belonging to a church in lower Manhattan, NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne said.

Browne added that the arrests “may have stymied plans to cut through the fence on multiple sides.”

The fence protected an area of Duarte Park that is owned by Trinity Church. Though supportive of the movement, the Rev. James H. Cooper, the rector of the church, said he does not believe setting up a tent city at Duarte Park enhances its mission or that of the protesters.

“The vacant lot has no facilities to sustain a winter encampment,” Cooper said in a statement Saturday. “In good conscience and faith, we strongly believe to do so would be wrong, unsafe, unhealthy, and potentially injurious.”

A spokesman for Occupy Wall Street expressed disappointment that the movement did not get more support from the church.

“Churches have been supportive venues — it is a shame that this came to this,” Karanja Gacuca said.

Protesters are looking for a new home after being evicted last month from the city’s Zuccotti Park — the movement’s physical birthplace — when a New York Supreme Court judge ruled that they could protest at the park, but not camp out.

Upon hearing of the protesters’ plan to set up camp at the church, officials from the Episcopal Church, which oversees Trinity, warned Friday that demonstrators would be subject to police and legal action should they attempt to trespass on the property.

“In a country where all people can vote and Trinity’s door to dialogue is open, it is not necessary to forcibly break into property,” Archbishop Desmond Tutu said in a statement Friday.

Gacuca said Saturday that protesters aren’t “interested in seizing property — we are interested in justice and expressing our frustrations.”

“The area we’re talking about is empty and vacant. It is a tragedy because it is a waste of resource,” he said.

Earlier, Occupy Wall Street protesters gathered in Duarte Park for speeches and music. Protesters called Saturday “part of a call to re-occupy in the wake of the coordinated attacks and subsequent evictions of occupations across the nation and around the world,” according to their website.

It is unclear when the arrested protesters will be released. A smaller number of Occupy participants marched to Times Square on Saturday night.

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  1. Re trinity Church & OWS: You don’t need to be religious to understand -and embrace- the idea that “Whatsoever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” But many of the 1%, in blind greed and endless schemes, have forgotten this. They have closed their eyes to what the word “society” should really mean, what it can mean. But due to Occupy Wall Street, we are finally talking less about CUTS and more about BLEEDING. Instead of demanding m-o-r-e budget cuts -to be borne by the middle class and poor- we are FINALLY focusing on the shameful bleeding that the poor and middle class has endured, for all too long. Instead of talking about even m-o-r-e cuts in the taxes of millionaires….we are now talking about fairness and justice – about an economy and a political system that is increasingly run for the rich, and by the rich. Instead of talking about LESS government, we are talking about a government that WORKS FOR ALL OF US, not just a favored few. Thank you OWS, for reminding us that people -ordinary working people- really DO matter, and for helping open our eyes to what’s really going on in this country. The attempt by OWS to occupy Duarte Square (the empty lot owned by Trinity Church) is much more than a plea for sanctuary. For like Zuccotti Park, it’s an attempt to carve out a protected space, a living conscience for the city, amid the repression. A refuge …in a city where control-freaks would sweep us under the rug, and out of the way….in a city where they would pen us in, and permit us to death….in a city that tells us to “move on, move on”….. you don’t belong, you don’t count, you don’t have a right to be here…don’t assemble, don’t block the street, don’t trespass, don’t EXIST! They would deny us, deny our lives, and deny our very futures. IF WE LET THEM. But OWS responds, both in word and in DEED, and says: we’ve had ENOUGH – we BELONG, we STAND our ground, and we DO matter! This IS our land, and we want it BACK! The word OCCUPY…says it all! That’s why OWS has captured our imagination. That’s why a living breathing OCCUPIED public space is important for OWS. Like Lady Liberty’s never extinguished torch that burns in our harbor, OWS needs to have a concrete, continuing, persistent in-yout-face presence.. to remind us of what we’ve lost, of what we are, and what we can be ..to affirm, illuminate, and inspire. Trinity Church, with its oft-proclaimed ideals (and its huge land holdings), should look deep into its collective soul, do the right thing, and help OWS secure a space of refuge and hope. For if Christ were physically among us today, as He was 2000 years ago, He would be among the FIRST to climb those fences, and occupy Trinity’s Duarte Square. Of this I am certain… 

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