Trampling Free Speech

By Nigel French

It wasn’t long before police reinforcements arrived and the cops decided to clear the scene of the protesters and onlookers who were on the sidewalk. They pushed us back along 28th Street and we ceded our ground reluctantly. That is, until another column of cops coming east on 28th Street from 6th Avenue, threatened to block our exit. Along with a group of maybe 10 others I ran to the sidewalk and tried to escape in the narrow gap between the parked cars and the buildings. The cops beat us to it; we were trapped and it looked certain that we would be arrested. Just then my cell phone rang: my friend at Union Square calling to say he was trapped on E16th Street; the cops had sealed the block at both ends and ensnared several hundred protestors. Luckily, and so it seemed, completely arbitrarily, the cops let me and those caught with me go. I headed back to Union Square.