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Group Criticizes NYPD's Handling Of Latest OWS Arrests

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TWC News: Group Criticizes NYPD's Handling Of Latest OWS Arrests
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Occupy Wall Street protesters were joined Monday by several City Council members in Manhattan to denounce the New York City Police Department's handling of the latest round of arrests in Zuccotti Park.

In all, about 73 people were arrested in clashes with officers over the weekend.

Police say they cleared out Zuccotti Park and put up barricades because protesters broke the rules by bringing in tents, sleeping bags and alcohol.

The department released video of a woman elbowing an officer in the head Saturday night, though activists claim she suffered a seizure.

She was taken to the hospital and later arrested on charges of assaulting a police officer.

"Instead the NYPD put up a barricade and blocked them from entering. We explained to them that this is illegal, immoral. But the response we got was, that's not my problem she's over there," said protester Liesbegh Rapp.

"Occupy Wall Street movement are not terrorists, they are not enemies of the state. Why are the police treating them as such," said City Councilman Jumaane Williams.

Speaking to reporters at an unrelated event, Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended the NYPD and its enforcement of the park's rules.

"Clearly you needed it for crowd control. You have a right to protest, you have a right to go in the park, you don't have a right to set up tents. End of story," Bloomberg said.

Earlier in the day, protesters gathered in Union Square as they continue to mark six months since the movement first set up in Lower Manhattan.

A minor clash occurred when one protester climbed onto the George Washington statue and refused to come down for about 40 minutes.


Part of the crowd urged him to stay up, while others told him to come down saying he wasn't accomplishing anything.

He eventually made his way down a ladder put up by police and was handcuffed.

About 50 protestors spent the night in the park.

Participants say six months into the movement, it is alive and well.

While protestors are not allowed to sleep in the park, they were allowed to bring sleeping bags in but could not lie down in them.

Meantime, the New York City Police Department is trying to get Twitter to hand over the account information for whoever sent a threatening tweet Saturday which read, "We won't make a difference if we dont kill a cop or 2."

A man who says he sent the tweet reached out to several media organizations, saying he lives in Florida and only meant his message as a joke.

Those who organized Monday's speak out say they are urging Council Speaker Christine Quinn to hold hearings on the NYPD's handling of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Members of the Occupy Wall Street movement also set up shop in Union Square.

More than 100 demonstrators were there Monday, holding one of the movement's general assemblies.

Some said they had been there since Saturday.

Protestors are also calling for a day of action this Saturday and a general strike on May 1.

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