Beatdown on 42nd Street


Times Square was a different story. Chaotic and stressful even on an ordinary day, the area presented a harrowing scene this afternoon as several breakaway groups of protesters converged, then met with overwhelming police presence. Dozens were arrested.

The Million Billionaire March, making their way in small, elegantly costumed groups from street corner to street corner, seemed positively immune from arrest. However, the young Mouse Bloc demonstrators stationed outside Broadway shows, and the Bike Bloc and QueerFist Kiss-In, which both assembled around 4 p.m. in front of the New York Public Library, met with stronger opposition.

The Bike Bloc received an immediate order to disperse from many cops on scooters, and instructions were issued that no one could ride a bicycle west of 6th Avenue. Garret, 27, and his friend James, 26, reported that they had seen plainclothes officers on scooters hitting bicycle riders, and that one rider was hit by an S.U.V. with a police light.

The QueerFist group, many of whom were young and dressed in drag, were targeted for arrests en masse. In the middle of Times Square around 5:15 p.m., at 46th Street and Times Square, I saw a young man passively resisting arrest; he was laid down with his head on the pavement, then carried into a waiting van by five or six officers. The National Lawyers Guild reps yelled “What’s your name?” The group was given an order to disperse, and walked west.

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 29, 2004

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