Columbia Students Arrested During Wall Street Protest

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Earlier today, police arrested protesters, including several Columbia students, at the Occupy Wall Street demonstration. Some reports say 60 arrests were made, but Columbians at the scene tell us the arrest count has reached 96. Bwog has learned that two seniors are still detained. According to Gothamist, tensions with NYPD escalated today as about 1,000 protestors gathered and marched towards Union Square.

A self-proclaimed leaderless resistance movement, Occupy Wall Street aims claims to represent the “99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and and corruption of the 1%”. The protests are based on Wall St to target what they see as the American financial system’s favoritism of the rich at the expense of others. There has been criticism of the protestors’ lack of coherence and articulation of specific aims. The Times called it a “ noble but fractured and airy movement of rightly frustrated young people.” Naturally, they’ve taken to twitter, and adopted the hashtag #occupywallstreet as a sort of unofficial slogan. They’re tweeting away!

Update (4:56pm) : We just spoke with Klein, and two other Columbia students who are down at the protests, Alexandra Afifi and Layan Fuleihan. All three are CC’12. They have been at the sit-in on and off since it began last Saturday, and report that today has drawn the most people they’ve seen yet.

The slew of arrests was precipitated by a march from Zuccotti Park, their base of operations, to Union Square. “The whole time the cops were trying to divert us but we managed to stay on the street the entire time. All the pedestrians were involved and seemed very supportive,” Klein said. NYPD were closely monitoring the march, but when the protestors reached Union Square, cops confronted them with large orange plastic nets, attempting to divide up the march, and divert the protestors in different directions. Many of those caught in the nets were arrested. Afifi described the particular arrests as “really arbitrary.” She said that they were not doing anything differently from the hundreds of other people: “We chanting in the same way, holding the same signs.” She added that all the arrests were made on the sidewalk, which is technically public property.

Klein believes this is a major turning point in the demonstration. Many new demonstrators showed up today, and pedestrians and locals became more involved and supportive. It also marked a shift in the nature of police actions. Arrests over the past few days have been relatively infrequent, and largely peaceful, albeit arbitrary. Layan said she’d seen people arrested for drawing on the sidewalk with chalk, for holding umbrellas, and for trying to screen their faces from the police cameras that are constantly filming the protestors.

Today, marchers were singled out and tackled to the ground. Some, including kids in high school, were hit with pepper spray and were visibly in severe pain. All those involved have emphasized how peaceful the march was. “I didn’t see any provocation from any protestor at all,” Layan added.

Klein encouraged other students to get involved: “This movement really needs support. It would be great to get a lot of Columbia students down here. The more it grows the more everyone’s voice will be heard.” All three students are planning to stay at Zuccotti Park until they find out what’s happened to their friends. Right now the arrested protestors, who fill up two vans and a bus, are being driven around the city because they have no place to put them. “I’ve stayed two nights,” Afifi said. “I’ll definitely stay the night here if I don’t hear anything.”

Update (5:10pm) : One of the arrested students still has his phone. He believes he will be detained for a few days, but will need a lawyer, and reports that the other student was hurt during his arrest.

Update (Sep. 25, 1:42pm) : We just spoke to Klein again, who told us that the other two detained Columbia students were released last night with disorderly conduct charges. Most other detainees held with the students were released as well—Klein also mentioned that apparently there were a lot of bystanders that were arrested along with the protesters, but they too were subsequently released.

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  1. Losers

    These guys are ignorant Liberals who probably don't know That all those on wall street support the non profits and other save the world organizations that they want to work for.

    • Anonymous

      let's have a contest to see who can be the most obnoxious troll?

    • Beleaguered CSR Fundraiser '12

      Generally with one hand they're investing in landgrabs that (often violently) displace hundreds of thousands and destroy farmland/water sources or vomiting unlimited cash into the election process with SuperPACs or paying a 0% tax rate or attempting to make bank off of the idea that poor people can't pay their mortgages and with the other they're funding inoffensive murals for school children. Most Fortune 500 CSR is really uncreative and conservative. Not really sure that balances out.

      None of which is to say that I think these protests are effective or well thought out. Perhaps I'm too pessimistic. Sigh.

    • protestfolk

      With the increasing Big Media attention, the current "Occupy Wall Street" expression of 2011 global youth revolt against the U.S. Power Elite's undemocratic social system could possibly develop into a youth revolt that's similar to what happened at Columbia and in Paris in April-May 1968. And if the spirit of the "occupy wall street" protests also eventually gets brought back and expressed on Columbia's campus (in some kind of "roll-back tuition"/"nrotc off-campus" convergence that's similar to what's been happening in Liberty park/plaza downtown, for example) perhaps it's possible that the 2011-2012 academic year at Columbia and Barnard could, ironically, also actually turn out to be the year of some kind of Big Media-publicized "2011 Columbia Student Youth Revolt," "2012 Columbia Student Youth Revolt" or an "Occupy Columbia University" youth revolt/student generational protest.

  2. Pretty sure  

    Layan is CC'12...

  3. Anonymous

    All the organizations they're apart of should lose their housing.

  4. Anonymous

    ok listen columbia, we all can't work at a non-profit okay? and since u hate engineers and look down on doctors, we go to wall street.

  5. Anonymous  

    However you feel about this protest, the difficulty protestors have protesting anything in Manhattan is really ridiculous. Where is the line between protecting public order stop and engaging public political repression? I'm not sure. But the City of New York may have crossed that line. Some democracy we have.

    • Exactly!  

      I thought this protest would be a little thing that a few people did, and then it would dissipate. But look at the ridiculous overreaction by the NYPD. By arresting and macing people for no reason, they're legitimizing the protesters.

  6. Huh  

    At first I was like: "Man, fuck these hipster hippies."

    But then I was like: "Man, fuck Wall Street."

    Now I don't know who to fuck.

  7. Anonymous  

    Wearing a V for Vendetta Mask and shouting inanities through a bullhorn is about as revolutionary as writing a letter to the editor. This is middle-class guilt at its finest: suburban rebels pretending to be on the front lines of some non-existent class war. The fact of the matter is Americans are too happy with the creature comforts that the cosmetic freedoms stemming from democracy allow them to consume, so there will never be a revolution in this country.

    A race war? Almost definitely. A revolution?

  8. john

    very skewed point of view from our young columbia socialists. you canmt protest in manhattan.literally unable to get a permit. so they did something illegal and got arrested. the arrests are arbitrary only in the sense that they cant arrest everyone. and pepper spray would be used against people resisting arrest.

    unbiased reporting should include that they actually were in violation of the law.

    • Anonymous

      Right, and every law is just, and any criticism or protest of the current system is unamerican. Ok.

      • yo

        the law is the law, doesn't matter if it is "just" by your standards, it's not up to the public to demonstrate against a law because it's "unjust". Want to play that game? Then prepare to get arrested and spend a night in Riker's Island before you get your motion called before a Manhattan Judge who doesn't give a shit about your $50,000 a year tuition paying - never worked a day in his life - liberal ass.

      • John  

        Are you kidding me? The thumbs down feature on bwog is one of the most annoying there is. obviously I understood my viewpoint wouldn't be "liked" but that's the point of having discourse instead of a room full of yes-people.

        In response to your point, did I ever say the laws were "just"? (Although they weren't protesting the laws against protesting, so this wasn't the force of their movement.) If you think not allowing for these protests isn't just an opinion piece can state that, but as this post seemed to be a "news" piece which was reporting information, it would make sense to provide the information that it wasn't like they were arrested for tying their shoe, it's because they were in violation of the city's laws.

        People need to learn to be ok with people disagreeing with them. This thumbs down business is the virtual equivalent of restricting unwanted speech. Yes i understand it's not like the government is stepping in, but come on. I wasn't blaming the Jews/Muslims/whoever it is people blame nowadays in some racist rant, I was saying the article should include relevant information.

    • Anonymous  

      I always found it ironic that our right to assembly, which was guaranteed so that we may always have a forum to express dissent against the government, requires government approval. Permits kind of defeat the purpose

  9. Agreed  

    I used to believe what they taught us in elementary school: that the United States is the best country in the world because our society tolerates dissenting opinions without resorting to violence. After I started attending protests (including the first day of Occupy Wall Street last weekend), I saw what a ridiculous lie this is. The police have so many tools at their disposal to break up any kind of large event, which they are happy to use at the drop of a hat, that it's obvious to me that our country is not so different from the dictatorships that were toppled across the Middle East. Even if you are a reactionary who disagrees with everything Occupy Wall Street stands for, you have to acknowledge this disturbing truth and hopefully rearticulate your politics accordingly.

  10. Idiots  

    Whose bright idea was it to plan a march/protest within a week of the NYPD's security nightmare that was the UN meetings? After running around all week trying to keep the city running at full speed, these cops now have to deal with a bunch of angry hipsters storming the streets. No shit they got arrested -- I'd be pissed too.

  11. Anonymous

    Only today we realized that America is like the rest of third world countries. We have no rights to protest. we have dictators as well. Because of that we also need something like the Arabs springs.

    • Anonymous  

      First: Third World is a derogatory term. The term I believe you may be searching for is "developing countries.

      Second: Shut the fuck up. You clearly have no idea what circumstances are like in other parts of the world. Sure the US may have problems, but these are nothing compared with the problems other parts of world.

      And before those of you try and belittle my credibility by writing me off as some privileged member of the American elite, I can tell you that I am an ethnic minority and I belong to a working-class family. My family and I have struggled, and continue to struggle, in this country. However difficult our struggles may be, they are dwarfed when compared to the struggles in other countries. I have never struggled to avoid systematic genocide. I have never been starving or unable to find clean drinking water. I've never had my country invaded and been subjugated by a foreign sovereign. I have not had to experience the disappearance of my loved ones. I have not been drafted into compulsory military service.

      Consider just how lucky we are before you compare our situation with that of others, who clearly struggle more than you can ever imagine.

  12. Anonymous  

    “This movement really needs support. It would be great to get a lot of Columbia students down here."




    "Come get pepper sprayed and arrested with me!"

    • oh, come on  

      whether you agree with the protestors or not, comments like this one are just cowardly. it's hard to deny that it takes a lot of balls to risk arrest for something you take to be important. and it's a perfectly plausible and even reasonable position, if maybe not a rock solid one you have to agree with, that any kind of actual political change is going to come from movements that aren't necessarily how we'd ideally like them to be, so it's worth supporting what comes along.

  13. Anonymous  


  14. Anonymous

    The top administration at Columbia University should give statements to condemn the action of the police. We have less freedom and rights compared to the people in Egypt and Libya. Who will stand up for us?

  15. Anonymous  

    Isn't there some sort of contradiction present in paying $50k a year to an institution which contributes to the issues (directly or indirectly) that the protestors are complaining about?

  16. Anonymous

    Ha,ha. This is to show to the Iranian President that New York is like his country. His country is as good as USA, or USA is as good as Iran. He is as good as Obama.

  17. hey wait a second  

    aren't all you guys named "anonymous " the ones who started this whole thing anyways...

  18. Anonymous  

    The three columbia kids were probably pissed they couldn't get an interview

  19. Van Owen

    Was Harrison David arrested?

  20. Anonymous  

    yo dog, I heard you like belittling actual problems by engaging in some developing country pissing contest about who gets shit on most by their government.

    so I decided to save you time and say: you're an idiot, Capitalism shits on everyone at the end of the day.

  21. Anonymous  

    it's funny how these over privileged "hipster" Columbia kids are protesting the industry that gave their families the means to give them a liberal arts education and giving them the time and funds to fight for "social" causes like #OccupyWallStreet.

  22. ...  

    man... as i look through the flickr pool for this thing all i can think is this:

    that looks like one hell of a party.

    meanwhile, back in reality, the net result of this whole thing is going to be fuck all. if these people were serious about a cause, they'd be out trying to push change through the political system. having a giant street party in a business district and antagonizing police achieves absolutely nothing.

    • Anonymous  

      But the flaw in the system is a structural one: it’s too top-heavy. Maneuvering within the existing system in an attempt to enact political change is a farce. We who are protesting prefer the possibility of disruption and radical change, not further ideological inculcation masquerading as change.

  23. ?

    We should ask the question on who created those people in the Wall Street. Is Columbia Business School one of them?

    • the truth

      in short: NO. it depends on the person. only about 30-50% go onto wall street. the rest of them either start companies, become managers at non-profits, go into teaching, go unemployed, or go work at fortune 500 companies in management positions.

      its not just one school that contributes to wall street. there are plenty of columbia law grads who make the switch from law to investment banking. there are plenty of columbia medical grads and doctors who go on to become bankers in the healthcare group of goldman sachs or run medical hedge funds (they make a LOAD of money). you didnt know that did you? that there are a LOT of bankers with MD's running the investment groups that invest in pfizer's drug research, etc...? (although i HATE the fact that the drugs we use are tied to someone else's profit, thus, our lives are owned by the medical bankers but thats another story...) and finally, there are plenty of columbia engineering guys who go on to program stock trading algorithms. it's not just the business school people!!!

  24. columbia alum '06, $90k debt

    uhh... someone explain to me just exactly how the heck you pay down an ALMOST 6 figure debt without working your ass off for 2-3 years in banking? other than winning the fucking lottery or going to a state school?

    -- i gave 3 years of my youth to goldman sachs. my 90k debt was completely gone by 2010. i can now focus on what i'm really passionate about without worrying about debt (trust me, IT IS WORRYING.)

    i voluntarily left goldman after my debt was paid off. im now at hopkins studying international relations. i plan to go into politics later.

    and guess what? i'll be running on the democrat line. if i ever get into any political position, you fucking bet im going to enact policies to help the poor - the conditions my family was in while growing up.

    don't regret my decision to go onto wall street ONE BIT.

    say what you want fellow liberals. i love you all, cant deny that. but at the end, i will be in a better position to serve social justice because i have the financial means to GET to that position.

  25. Twitch

    Columbia students got arrested? Throw them out of their dormitories. And then throw out everyone in the dormitories on whim.

  26. Anonymous  

    Are you seriously comparing this to the Middle East??
    What a fucking moron.

  27. Anonymous  

    I really hope you're a troll.

  28. Anonymous

    why the fuck are you columbians protesting anyways? lets just pack another bowl or roll a big ass blunt so we dont ruin the beautiful weekend, trustfund babies?

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