Saturday, December 27, 2014

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Occupy Wall Street Protesters Hold Teach-In At Washington Square Park

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TWC News: Occupy Wall Street Protesters To Rally At Union Square
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Occupy Wall Street followed a busy night with plenty of activity Saturday, as demonstrators marched towards Washington Square Park for a teach-in and a man was taken to Bellevue Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation after climbing atop a sculpture in Zuccotti Park and demanding Mayor Michael Bloomberg's resignation.

Many gathered in Union Square to participate in the 16th Annual Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, a national event.

Protesters called on the New York City Police Department to end its controversial stop-and-frisk policy, which civil activists say disproportionately targets men of color. In 2009, more than half-a-million people were stopped and frisked.

The police department has long defended the policy, saying it improves safety and deters crime.

Meanwhile, another man caused quite a scene in Zuccotti Park Saturday morning but avoided arrest after he climbed a sculpture some 30 feet above the ground.

Dylan Spoelstra, a 24-year-old Canadian, demanded, among other things, that Mayor Michael Bloomberg resign.

Negotiators eventually convinced Spoelstra to come down without incident after a few hours.

Other protesters said it wasn't the first time he pulled off a stunt like this.

"Your tongue is powerful. There's so many ways of protesting and me personally, I consider that as another sign of protest. It's not like he was trying to commit suicide or anything. He had demands. It was government demands and everything. His mind was on one thing," said a protester.

The man was not arrested but was taken to Bellevue Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.

All of this came on the heels of Friday night's march on the Upper West Side that was attended by two legends of folk music.

Pete Seeger, the 92-year-old singer and activist, joined protesters after his concert at Symphony Space to march from 95th Street to Columbus Circle.

Seeger told NY1 he supports the protesters and that it's a revelation, a movement without a leader.

Also taking part in the march was folk singer Arlo Guthrie, who says the protests remind him of the upheaval of the 1960s.

"It's reminiscent of the time when people were sort of without leaders, without agendas. Just something happened back around 1964, 1965. People felt like they oughta say something cause the world was going in a way that didn't seem right. Seemed like it was getting a little crazy," said Guthrie.

Police say 35 people were arrested Friday.

Thirty-three were charged with disorderly conduct, and two were charged with obstructing government administration.

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