The police arrested a group of Occupy Wall Street protesters who were lying on a sidewalk at the corner of Wall Street and Broad Street on Friday afternoon after one demonstrator announced that the law allowed them to do so as a form of political protest.
Federal Courts have said that First Amendment rights can apply to people who sit/sleep on sidewalks as long as they do not occupy ore than half the sidewalk.
The NYPD simply ignored this and arrested people. Then they started arresting people who shouted. Then they declared this a sensitive area and arrested people – people they themselves had said could stay.
They then barricaded the protestors into an area and cited anyone who did not move fast enough past that area.
Interestingly, they are doing this at Federal Hall – where the Bill of rights was created. This area is run by the Federal Park Service and they are allowing the protestors to stay.
At least some of them.
Another instance of where the locals break the law and the Feds follow the law.
It will be interesting to see what happens.