Updated 10/02/2011 07:22 PM
Conflicting Videos Tell Two Sides Of "Occupy Wall Street" Mass Arrest
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Police have released video to show they gave warnings before Saturday's arrest of more than 700 "Occupy Wall Street" protesters on the Brooklyn Bridge roadway, but many demonstrators who are still protesting say they were misled onto the roadway by officers.
On Sunday, protesters were still gathered at Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan, where for the past two weeks they have denounced what they call excessive corporate greed, global warming, big business' influence over Washington and other social inequalities.
The controversy over Saturday's arrests continues, as a video posted on YouTube shows New York City Police Department officers walking in front of members of the demonstrators on the Brooklyn Bridge before the confrontation.
Some protesters who spoke with NY1 said they intended to stay on the pedestrian walkway, but felt like they were being led onto the roadway.
A YouTube video showing police officers leading demonstrators on the Brooklyn Bridge.
Protesters claimed Saturday's march was peaceful, until they were met halfway on the bridge by another group of officers allegedly waiting to make arrests without warning.
"We were under the impression that we were allowed to be on the bridge once the police turned around and began leading us onto the bridge, as if it was an escort for our safety," said one demonstrator.
"All of a sudden, out of nowhere a bunch of police showed up and penned us in. I never heard any announcement at all for police about dispersing or anything like that," said another.
"I never heard anyone telling us not to go, and there were cops walking next to us the whole way down, until there was a line in front of us," said a third. "No one saying 'stop,' no one saying 'go back.' And then when we were blocked in, we people were saying, 'Well, how do we get out? How do we leave? And they said, 'Well, it's too late for that.'"
However, the NYPD has released its own video that shows at least some of the protesters were warned, first at the base of the bridge and then again mid-span.
The NYPD video also shows protesters sitting down in the roadway, and some of what the officers say is drowned out by the crowd.
Many demonstrators who spoke with NY1 on Sunday said they could not hear the warnings.
"I didn't hear it. I'm told others may have, but I didn't specifically hear it. The chanting was pretty loud," said a demonstrator.
Others complained that their fellow protesters were trying to "make a bigger statement by blocking traffic," and ended up dividing the group.
"Some people wanted to be on the bridge on the traffic side and make a bigger statement by blocking traffic, and what they ended up doing was they took the whole movement with them and it split us. And I don't think it was a good idea," said a protester.
The marchers blocked Brooklyn-bound traffic on the bridge for several hours before the arrests began.
Most of the arrested protesters were released overnight with summonses for violations like disorderly conduct and blocking the roadway.
Some demonstrators told NY1 they did not mind the incident, as it has brought more media attention to the protests.