After police arrested dozens of Occupy Wall Street participants over the weekend, protestors marched to New York City Police Department headquarters today to demand the resignation of Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.
Members of the Occupy Wall Street movement marched from Foley Square to One Police Plaza, the Lower Manhattan headquarters of the NYPD.
Besides wanting Kelly to resign, the demonstrators also sounded off about the arrests of about 73 people who clashed with police at Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan last weekend.
Police say they cleared Zuccotti because protestors were breaking park rules, but some protestors say those arrested were mistreated and attacked by police.
“On Saturday night, as I simply sat in a park, I was violently arrested with my friends and watched as blood-thirsty cops stomped on their faces, knelt on their necks, pulled them by their hair and slammed them into windows,” said Occupy Wall Street protestor Jen Waller.
Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway defended the NYPD this morning, when the issue was raised at a breakfast hosted by Crain’s New York Business. He said overall what New Yorkers are seeing is the police force at its best and noted that some of the protestors are crossing the line in their interactions with police.
“The police department is well-trained, they know the rules. They are trying to facilitate these things and help them to happen safely, not stop them,” said Holloway. “And yes, there are going to be isolated cases where, yesterday, one of the protestors elbowed a police officer in the face. Another tried to take a police officer’s gun and baton.”
The Occupy Wall Street protests began about six months ago. After a break during the winter months, the movement is ramping back up again.
Demonstrators are preparing for a march on Saturday and they are calling for a general strike on May 1.