NEW YORK – Nearly 1,000 people were arrested in New York City on Tuesday for taking part in protests against President Bush, the Republican National Convention and even FOX News.
Police said more than 970 people were arrested on the convention's second day, triple the amount of people busted on Sunday when more than 120,000 people staged a march through midtown Manhattan. Since the weekend, about 1,300 people have been taken into custody in convention-related protest activity.
One of those arrested late Tuesday at a demonstration was a 19-year-old man who was seen on a videotape assaulting a detective a day earlier, police said.
On Tuesday, protests took part throughout the day and into the evening around the city and at Madison Square Garden (search).
Early-rising activists hoisted a banner proclaiming "Halliburton Thanks the GOP" to greet delegates from Florida, Texas and elsewhere who emerged from their breakfast meetings at the Hilton New York in Midtown Manhattan. The banner refers to charges that the Houston-based oil services firm now providing assistance to the U.S. military in Iraq has benefited from the positioning of Dick Cheney (search), the firm's former chairman, as vice president.
A couple of blocks from Madison Square Garden, more than 100 postal workers clad in blue T-shirts held signs opposing privatization of the U.S. Postal Service (search) while chanting "Hey hey, ho ho, Bush and Cheney have got to go." They encouraged the relaxed police onlookers to join their rally, but did not gain any converts.
In lower Manhattan, 100 to 200 civil-liberties activists marched and rallied. The diverse group wound through Chinatown chanting "Whose city? Our city" and "War on the world, not in our name." As the singing, dancing and chanting protesters streamed by Chinese restaurants on Mulberry Street, waiters and busboys emerged to view the activists.
Police units matched the protesters in numbers, and when the march stopped in Thomas Paine Park, the cops formed a rough circle around the activists. Hoisting signs opposing detentions and immigration policy, the protesters, many with long hair and beards, said they chose the park as their rally site because it was across the street from a federal building.
"This administration is an administration of fear. I only got involved after 9/11. This government tried to use the horror of 9/11" to erode civil liberties, said Don Spark, who traveled to New York from San Francisco to demonstrate at the convention.
Spark distributed a flier with tips on "stopping a police state." His biggest concern, he said, was that since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks against the United States, the government has been holding Muslims and others "incommunicado."
Frank Blanco, a bartender from Baltimore, Md., was in New York to demonstrate against "immigration issues and the poor attention being paid to political prisoners — people they say are terrorists."
A Philadelphia waiter, who only wanted to be identified as Curly, held a banner that stated: "No Racist Detentions at Home or Abroad." He said he came to New York "to protest George Bush," who he said "acts like a maniac and brings us to war under his regime." He also complained that there have been "thousands and thousands of illegal arrests."
Outside the Fox News Channel studios in midtown Manhattan, police in riot gear used barricades to contain around 1,000 demonstrators staging a "shut-up-athon" to denounce what they called the network's right-wing slant. One woman held up a sign that read: "Republicans are really stupid. They watch Fox News and believe it."
While protesters at the Democratic National Convention (search) in Boston were largely complimentary of the police, the story was much more mixed in New York. Both sides were wary of one another, and police and protesters videotaped the rallies, capturing protesters' faces and cops' faces and badge numbers.
Spark was very critical of the police, saying that they had been extremely aggressive at other demonstrations, riding motorcycles through the crowd, being unnecessarily physical and even assaulting the protesters. He displayed a bruise on his arm that he said was a wound from an earlier protest. On his arm was scrawled the number of a legal aid group in case of arrest.
Curly said that the police are generally "showing a lot of restraint," but officers make arrests "the minute they can grab a small group of people for the slightest infraction."
One arrest occurred during a morning rally. A twenty-something protester climbed a tree, and when ordered to come down by police, he quickly complied. As soon as he reached the ground he was handcuffed and led to a paddy wagon. The 50-yard trip to the police vehicle was delayed by a media frenzy as dozens of photographers hustled to snap the young man's picture.
The protesters chanted, "Let him go. Let him go," but did not react violently or aggressively and soon returned to the peaceful rally. As the young man was placed in the paddy wagon, a friend called out "Stay strong, Will." Hearing this, a stocky policeman responded mockingly in falsetto, "Stay strong, Will. Stay strong, Will."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.