NEW YORK CITY--City police yesterday arrested 1002 demonstrators, part of a crowd of more than 4000 antinuclear protesters who tried to close down the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).
Most exchange employees reported to work despite the chanting lines of demonstrators that greeted them at five police check-in points, and NYSE officials termed activity inside the exchange "fairly normal."
Police arrested the demonstrators, who remained peaceful all day, on charges of disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and obstructing government operations. Police issued summons and then released 757 of the protesters; the other 245, many of whom refused to cooperate with officials, were held overnight.
Organizers of the "Manhattan Project" demonstration demanded that NYSE officials "delist" 61 corporations involved in the nuclear power industry. The protest was also scheduled to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the 1929 stock market crash.
Most of the protesters, who sat in groups near police barricades and in the middle of the financial district's busiest streets, went limp when police approached. Officers dragged demonstrators by their arms or carried them on stretchers to waiting buses and paddy wagons.
The day's most violent clash came shortly after 11 a.m., when police on horseback and foot charged through a group of protesters following a jazz band up Broadway.
Police knocked one demonstrator off a pair of six-foot stilts, and several officers clubbed a group of demonstrators near the front of the line.
I Love a Parade
"The decision to use the horses was a logistical one--we have no comment on why the decision was made to use force at that time," police public information officer Fred Elwick said yesterday afternoon. Police on the scene said the street was cleared because the demonstrators did not have a permit for a parade.
No one was hospitalized, although one woman, kicked in the head by a horse, was treated and released by paramedics on the scene. Elwick and exchange public relations official Charles Storer said no employees or police were injured.
Protest leaders said they considered the day a success even though they failed to halt trading on the exchange. "This brings the connection between nuclear power and our economic system into the public eye," Carri Tarver, leader of a Greenwich Village group of protesters, said yesterday.
"We had to be pleased with how they behaved. There was no violence at all," Elwick added.
Exchange officials ordered employees to arrive for work between 6:30 and 7:30 a.m., two hours earlier than usual, yesterday. Workers who arrived before 7 a.m. strolled through police barricades without incident.
Demonstrators, many of whom camped in church cellars or homes of protest organizers Sunday night, gathered shortly after dawn, physically blocking entrances to the police check points while they sang folk songs and begged employees to "stay home, just for a single day."