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New York's union bus drivers protest being forced to haul prisoners after Brooklyn Bridge arrests

[Editor's note: The following came in from Portside Labor late on October 3, 2011. The story originally appeared in the New York Daily News on October 3, 2011. One of the thing we hope will emerge in these stories from New York are photoographs by another union, the United Federation of Teachers, showing teachers marching across the Brooklyn Bridge, which union teachers have done during major events, including strikes, on a number of occasions during the past 50 years].

Arrested protesters on the Brooklyn Bridge Saturday. The transit workers union has protested the fact that transit drivers were forced to act as police vans in transporting those arrested.TWU Blasts City for Putting Handcuffed Occupy Wall Street Protesters on Buses BY Pete Donohue, Emily Sher and Helen Kennedy Daily News Writers, Daily News (New York) October 3, 2011

http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2011/10/03/2011-10-03_twu_blasts_city.html#ixzz1ZjSBJgHO

The Transport Workers Union will go to court Monday to try to stop the city from forcing bus drivers to transport Wall Street protesters arrested by the NYPD, the Daily News has learned.

The union, whose leaders voted last week to support the protesters, said police brass commandeered three MTA buses to transport many of the 700 demonstrators arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge on Saturday.

Union President John Samuelsen called ordering bus drivers to drive prisoners "a blatant act of political retaliation."

Police brass had no immediate comment on Samuelsen's comments Sunday night.

Police telling protestors that they will be arrested in New York City on Saturday."TWU Local 100 supports the protesters on Wall Street and takes great offense that the mayor and NYPD have ordered operators to transport citizens who were exercising their constitutional right to protest - and shouldn't have been arrested in the first place," Samuelsen said Sunday night.

At least five empty buses were commandeered from terminal points on both sides of the bridge, Samuelsen said.

In some cases, MTA supervisors ordered drivers to follow the directive.

"The MTA has a long history of cooperating with the NYPD and other law enforcement agencies when they require vehicles to perform their duties," said Jeremy Soffin, MTA spokesman.

DAILY NEWS EDITOR GIVES FIRST-PERSON ACCOUNT OF PROTEST

ON BROOKLYN BRIDGE

But that violates the contract between Local 100 and the MTA, Samuelsen said.

"Our mission is to provide transit service to the

riding public, not transport people who were arrested,"

he said.

The mass roundup on the bridge did little to stifle the

protesters: Hundreds went right back to the rally after

getting sprung.

"Just because we're being arrested, we're not being

silenced," said Robert Grodt, 24.

"You go to Italy, you eat gelato. You go to a protest,

you expect to be arrested," said Daniel Levine, 22, a

Baruch College journalism student.

NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said 700 people received

summonses and eight were held - three for outstanding

warrants and five for not providing ID.

He did not immediately comment on the TWU seeking an

injunction.

The nebulous protest against corporate greed, income

inequality and tax breaks for fat cats enters its third

week with growing crowds, a higher media profile and a

big union march set for Wednesday.

Cops and protesters argued over whether demonstrators

Saturday defied orders to stay on the bridge's

pedestrian walkway or were lured into a trap by cops

who said they could use the roadway.

The NYPD released a video showing a captain with a

bullhorn telling a teeming throng, "I'm ordering you to

leave this roadway now. If you do so voluntarily, no

charges will be placed against you."

The crowd responded with chants of "Take Our Bridge"

and linked arms as protesters on the walkway cheered

them.

The Brooklyn-bound lanes of the bridge were closed for

nearly three hours as cops rounded up protesters.

"The protestors were warned: Stay off the roadway,"

said Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly.

Protester videos showed a column of marchers entering

the car lanes with officers walking calmly at their

head.

"The cops led us onto that street," said Casey O'Neill,

34, who quit his computer job in California to join the

protest.

With Barry Paddock

pdonohue@nydailynews.com



Comments:

October 4, 2011 at 10:27 AM

By: John Kugler

Enemy of the State

Anyone that uses public resources to subjugate free citizens is the enemy of the state. Anyone that sells off public assets to crony buddies is an enemy of the people that built those assets. Last, if we all realize there are more free citizens than oppressors and that we control the means of production: then we can start understanding who really has power and control.

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