Flood Wall Street Ends in Pepper Spray and Mass Arrests, Including a Polar Bear

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Photo by C.S. Muncy. A slideshow of the protest can be viewed here.
One of the arrested people was dressed like a polar bear, or perhaps was a polar bear.
By the end of last night's Flood Wall Street demonstration in the Financial District, police had arrested 104 people, including one dressed as a polar bear, and pepper-sprayed a few more. The arrests were more or less expected -- the organizers of the protest had said well in advance that they were planning to commit civil disobedience by staging a sit-in on Wall Street, which they did, first in the area around the Wall Street Bull and then near the intersection of Wall Street and Broadway.

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'Climate Change Is Class War': Flood Wall Street Takes Over Financial District

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Photo by C.S. Muncy for the Village Voice
In a harder-edged follow-up to yesterday's massive People's Climate March, a couple thousand people took part in "Flood Wall Street" today; dressed in blue, they marched from Battery Park to the Financial District, staging a sit-in in the area around the Wall Street Bull. As of 2:30 p.m., two people had been arrested. The organizers tweeted that they weren't planning on moving any time soon:

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Reverend Billy Arrested After Trying to Stop Removal of 130-Year-Old 'Bendy Tree'

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Image via Facebook
Reverend Billy stands atop a Parks Department truck during the demolition.
Activist preacher and frequently arrested person Reverend Billy Talen took another trip to the Tombs this weekend, this time for trying to halt the removal of a 130-year-old, much-beloved, very crooked tree in Tompkins Square Park. As East Village blog EV Grieve was first to report, the tree, known affectionately as "Bendy Tree," was condemned by an arborist with the city Parks Department, found to be "structurally unsound" and a danger to the public.

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Westboro Baptist Church Will Also Picket Gawker, Buzzfeed, Foursquare, Basically Everybody Else

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Photo by Flickr user Shamey Jo, who is not affiliated with the WBC.
A fuzzy kitten pile: the direct opposite of the Westboro Baptist Church.
Last week, we told you that the Westboro Baptist Church, a merry band of noxious trolls with questionable ties to Jesus, is returning to New York to picket the New York Times, Facebook, the Huffington Post, and the 9/11 Memorial Museum. It appears that the WBC has realized that picketing media outlets is a good way to get attention: they've added a couple dozen other websites, publishing companies and tech ventures to their picket schedule. This is probably our fault. Sorry, everyone. Sorry.

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Fox News Desperately Wanted Saturday's March for Eric Garner To Be a Bloodbath

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All photos by C.S. Muncy for the Village Voice. See more Eric Garner march photos.
Thousands of people marched through Staten Island Saturday to protest the July death of 43-year-old Eric Garner at the hands of NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo, and to call for justice for all victims of police brutality. There were no arrests during the "We Will Not Go Back" rally and march, which was organized by Reverend Al Sharpton's National Action Network, backed by a host of labor unions and social justice organizations, and attended by a smattering of politicians, including City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and former Governor David Patterson.

The lack of violence surely came as a serious disappointment to Fox News, which spent the days leading up to the march solemnly predicting that the whole thing would melt down into a full-scale race war.

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The Westboro Baptist Church Is Coming Back to New York to Picket the Media, the 9/11 Museum and "FaceBook"

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Photo by Flickr user Mathias Erhart, who is in no way affiliated with the WBC.
We have lots of photos of the Westboro Baptist Church. We just decided you might rather look at some fuzzy kittens.
The Westboro Baptist Church will return to New York City in September as part of an ongoing bid to troll the universe and fill their days with some semblance of meaning. According to their picket schedule, the protest- and lawsuit-happy church/hate group is in Missouri this week to picket the funeral of Mike Brown, the Ferguson teenager recently slain by police officer Darren Wilson. But after that, to coincide with the 13th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks, they'll be heading this way. They've got quite the itinerary planned.

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Highway Patrol Captain In Ferguson Blames Agitators from New York and California For Unrest [Update]

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Photo by Danny Wicentowski for the Riverfront Times
Tear gas floods the streets of Ferguson during a Sunday night protest. The melee continued Monday night.
It was another long, bad night in Ferguson, Missouri, where protests over the killing of 18-year-old Mike Brown by police officer Darren Wilson continued for the ninth straight day. The National Guard was brought in yesterday, but their presence didn't seem to calm the situation: at least 31 people were arrested during the protests last night and two men were shot. Police said they were shot at by a small group of protesters but that they didn't fire their weapons , saying the men were shot by others in the crowd. At a news conference at 2 a.m., Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson displayed two guns and a Molotov cocktail he said arrested people had been carrying. Johnson blamed some of the unrest on outside agitators, saying, "I've said many of the criminal elements that have been coming to Ferguson are not from this area.Tonight, some of those arrested came from as far away as New York and California."

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Five Arrested During Citywide Marches Supporting Mike Brown, MO Teen Slain By Police

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Photo by C.S. Muncy. The Michael Brown protest in Midtown Manhattan.
Police "kettling" protesters in Times Square during the demonstration last night.
In 90 cities around the country last night, demonstrators marched in what was dubbed National Moment of Silence 2014 to honor Mike Brown, the teenager killed in Missouri by police last week, as well as other victims of police brutality. The marches were organized online in just four days by Feminista Jones, a writer and activist from the Bronx with a massive Twitter following. In New York, marchers massed in Bed-Stuy, Harlem and hundreds in Union Square; some of the Manhattan protesters made their way up to Times Square, where five men were eventually arrested during what both police and protesters alike called an otherwise fairly peaceful night.

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Cecily McMillan, Fresh out of Rikers Island: "The 99% Is Stronger Than Ever"

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Photo by Anna Merlan
McMillan reads her statement in front of the Rikers entrance.
At 5 o'clock this morning, graduate student and Occupy Wall Street protester Cecily McMillan was awakened by a guard in her bunk at Rikers, where she's spent a little more than two months after being convicted of assault on a police officer. McMillan had expected to be released today, but she anticipated going through the usual procedure: visiting the social services office around 7:30 a.m. with a group of other women also being let out that day, receiving her property back, and meeting her friends at the gates of the jail.

Instead, McMillan says she was taken to an unmarked van by a cadre of police officers.

"I don't want to go with you," she later told her friend Lucy Parks she said to them. "You're not telling me where you're taking me." She feared she was being set up.

Eventually, an officer told her she was being released. She was taken to the Queensboro Plaza, where she says she was "dumped" unceremoniously, her arms full of her property. She had no keys, money, or phone. The officers left her with a Metro Card and drove away.

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Occupy Protester Cecily McMillan on Rikers: "In Some Ways, I'm Treated Better Than Anyone Else In Here, Which is Horrifying"

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Photo by Anna Merlan
McMillan with her lead attorney, Martin Stolar, during her trial.
After serving a little less than two months in jail, Occupy Wall Street protester and graduate student Cecily McMillan will be released from Rikers Island on Wednesday, July 2. As you might recall, the 25-year-old was found guilty in May of assaulting a police officer during a 2012 protest. She was sentenced to 90 days in jail and five years probation, with time off for the good behavior and time served. It seems safe to say that both McMillan and the city's Department of Correction will be happy to see her off the island, where, true to form, she's been protesting and organizing almost since the moment she arrived.

Rikers has been in an uproar lately, after two officers and 20 inmates were arrested as part of a corruption sweep. But none of them were in the Rose M. Singer Center, the jail unit where women are kept. McMillan and her fellow inmates didn't know about the arrests until relatively recently. The regular paper for the inmates is the Daily News; when they ran a cover story about the arrests last week, the paper arrived with the front cover torn off.

In a recent phone call, McMillan said her time at Rikers has been curious, a mix of special treatment that no other inmates receive and weird restrictions that seem tailor-made just for her.

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