NEW YORK - September 2 - After being held more than 24 hours in the Pier 57 detention facility and Central Booking at 100 Center Street, some nonviolent activists are free (available for interviews, see above). Some participants were trapped and arrested by police at the beginning of the solemn march from Ground Zero. Others continued the march toward Madison Square Garden and were arrested during a "die-in" at Broadway and 28th Street, carrying out the civil disobedience action as had been planned and announced.
Activists confirm reports about filthy and potentially toxic conditions at Pier 57 and the feeling of a planned slow-down in processing those arrested. Demonstrators were also held with many individuals who were not participating in protests but were swept up in police actions, including many who were trapped in the police net used at Church Street and Fulton when the beginning of the solemn march was stopped by the police.
Besides the War Resisters League, sponsoring organizations included the Socialist Party USA, School of the Americas Watch, Voices in the Wilderness, Progressive Programmers League, The Mourning Project, and Ground Zero for Peace. This civil disobedience was part of a full day of nonviolent direct actions in coordination with the A31 Action Coalition.
These organizations and the individuals involved still feel the need to engage in protest and civil disobedience in order to dramatize their vigorous opposition to United States government's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and President George W. Bush's "war on terror." In addition, there is the sense of a further imperative to protect our rights to freely participate in nonviolent protest and to vehemently protest the government's apparent policy development of "preemptive arrest" and indiscriminate street sweeps in and around protests.