Ross Levin ’15 was arrested along with at least 80 other protesters at Saturday’s Liberty Plaza march, part of “Occupy Wall Street,” a protest against the financial system. The event has brought several thousand protesters into the streets of New York City since Sept. 17, including more than 20 Wesleyan students.

“The whole time [Saturday’s march] was really high energy and we were going through the streets, not staying on the sidewalks,” Levin said. “So, many people who would not have otherwise been at Wall Street saw what we were talking about.”

According to Levin, police officers began arresting individuals towards the end of the march, as the protesters were leaving Union Square. Levin said that the arrests prompted some chaos and confusion, which worsened when police officers took out orange nets and protesters fled to escape being ensnared.

“There were individuals who were arrested, and then there were people like me who were arrested by kettling,” Levin said. “That’s where they kind of build a wall of policemen holding this net and trap people. Everyone inside the net was charged with disorderly conduct.”

Levin’s wrists were bound and he was transported on a bus with other protesters to the police station. Once he was processed at the station, he remained in a holding cell with 66 other men until his release around 4 a.m. on Sunday.

“On the bus and in the holding cell, it was a good time,” Levin said. “I met a lot of interesting people. After the initial scare of being arrested there was really no problem, except for the lack of food. And they did take much longer than they needed to with all the paperwork. I don’t think the goal was to restore order, I think it was to keep people away from the protest as long as possible.”

Levin expressed disapproval of what he described as the NYPD’s “openly harsh” actions towards demonstrators.

“There were cops shoving peaceful protesters, just shoving them onto the ground,” he said. “And then there were cops pepper spraying people who were already within the kettles.”

Daniel Plafker ’15, who was at the protest with Levin, said he believes that the physical force used by police officers was excessive,  considering the lack of violence on behalf of the protesters.

“Violence was being used as a tool of repression rather than a tool of security,” he said. “They weren’t looking at this like ‘Oh, if we use this violence it will make everybody safer.’ If anything it risked the safety of everyone involved.”

Plafker said that he believes the arrests brought the protesters closer together.

“[The arrests] definitely strengthened the resolve of the protesters and brought them closer together in a cohesive way, which is only going to make them harder and harder to suppress as the movement goes on,” he said.

Plafker, who was present both this weekend and at the start of the protest, said that he thinks the democratic decision-making process used by the protesters is becoming  more efficient. Decisions must be decided upon unanimously by the protesters, who have dubbed themselves the “New York City General Assembly.”

“When we were there last weekend, the process of direct democracy was kind of tedious and slow moving, but now, as people become more practiced in it, decisions are reached much more quickly and consensus is built much more easily,” Plafker said.

The “Principles of Solidarity,” a living document created by the Working Group on Principles of Consolidation and accepted by the entire NYC General Assembly, lists points of unity around which the group has rallied. A working draft of the document is published on the General Assembly’s website, and will soon be followed by a list of the group’s demands.

“The group is really progressing in terms of getting people to understand the movement and spreading word about the cause,” said Julia Baez ’14, who was also in attendance.

Plafker, Levin, and Baez were accompanied by Natalia Manetti-Lax ’14 and Evita Rodriguez ’14. Since Saturday, the group has occupied tents on Foss Hill to continue the demonstration on campus.

Manetti-Lax, Baez, and Plafker all expressed a desire to return to New York and continue to participate in the protest. While Levin was not entirely certain about his specific plans for the future, he said he intends to stay involved.

“I’ll be back in New York on Nov. 3rd for my court date, and if people are still occupying Wall Street then I’ll definitely stop by,” he said. “It hasn’t intimidated me away at all and I’ll still be helping out here on campus.”

  • The police are minions and are step and fetch-its of the power elite.

    As per the Bill Of Rights why not allow this protest to go with all the provocation by the NYPD.

    The police are not being mindful of the facts that regardless of political stripe this protest has been peaceful and orderly.

  • Anonymous

    Power to the People!

  • Intricate iris

    TO ALL POLICE OFFICERS EVERYWHERE: I know there are good officers out there. My grandfather was the chief for years in our town and he is saddened by the state of today’s force and the fact that some of them basically attack our young people without any consequences. I ask you to do this – stand up against corruption and the generalization of people by political and social judgment. Stand up against fellow officers that are wrong! Look into your hearts and you know it isn’t right to use your power in some of the ways you are encouraged to (even if not openly encouraged). Don’t be one of the corrupt; serve and protect the PEOPLE as you are supposed to! IT’S WORTH IT AND IT’S FOR YOU AND ME AND EVERY AMERICAN.

  • I hope the protesters stay there all winter. I don’t want to live in the world you’d be creating. It always ends in tyrrany. It was tried here before in Jamestown. First it was all communal, but failing because sharing everything regardless of input resulted in not enough to go around (more people just sat around). John Smith used Biblical principle, “He who won’t work won’t eat,” and things worked well ’till he got shot. Then they forced people to work until they died.

    I’d rather live in the system we have than be a slave for the lazy – and the guys in power will still have it, silly.

    Just like in Atlas Shrugged, the wealthy will just move elsewhere and we’ll be left with broken means of wealth.

    On a worldwide note – we ARE rich. They will be taking from us.

    This whole thing is nonsense by a bunch of anarchists who don’t know the difference between reality and theory.

    • Jason Fyda

      The original settlers nearly died off over their first two winters because they had no clue how to live on this land. The only reason Europeans successfully settled in America was through the Natives, who gave them food and supplies to survive the harsh winter. The Natives also taught the ‘white people’ how to fish, how to plant many crops (not just corn), how to hunt deer and buffalo. What did they get in return? Genocide, infanticide, slavery, starvation, disease, and war…The #occupyLA General Assembly’s have been going well, and everyone is contributing! We will take this country back from the 1%!


      If these were anarchists don’t you believe there would be more violence on the protesters half? The police are the only ones causing violence, macing people in the face and beating with batons. I have to ask you what are we rich in globally? Enslavement of the rest of the world for products we don’t need? This system DOES NOT WORK! You must be blind to the thousands of unemployed people across this country that are quite capable of working but are unable to because corporate greed won’t allow for more jobs. If they cannot PROFIT from it then they don’t go with it. PROFIT must go. This leaves people behind, forgotten. You said “…it always in tyranny. It was tried here before in Jamestown…” and what did we get TYRANNY! Open your eyes you are NOT free.

  • Sign the petition to jail Anthony Bologna for assault and remove Raymond Kelly as police commissioner!

  • The movement is gaining momentum after a week and a half and Occupy movements are popping up all over the country! Stand up together and use your voice to give to those without. Tax the rich and feed the poor- you are the 99%! See my Occupy Wall Street painting and Anonymous homage on my artist’s blog at where you can also see videos of the protests and police brutality as well as get other sources for real coverage of the movement.

    • Don Bartlett

      Obama is bought too? He took a ton of Wall Street money in the first election…and where is all this money coming from?

      Obama Campaign Bets Big on Auto Bailout Ads
      Three months before the Republican party has even elected an opponent, the Obama campaign is going on the offensive. Three advertisements were released May 9 as part of an aggressive $25 million media blitz to gain ground in nine swing states, from New Hampshire, Iowa, and Colorado to Virginia, North Carolina, and Nevada. Nearly $10 million will be evenly split to reach voters in Ohio and Florida.