NEW YORK (AP) – About 215 protesters were arrested yesterday after they lay down on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, blocking traffic in the latest of a series of demonstrations against the war.
Most of those arrested at the “die-in” face charges of disorderly conduct and obstructing governmental administration, police said.
Anti-war groups had called for civil disobedience, hoping to draw more attention than the largely lawful protests held daily in the city since hostilities began in Iraq.
“Nothing else gets attention,” Fordham University student Johannah Westmacott said as she jotted down officers’ badge numbers.
The “die-in” was intended to symbolize Iraqi war victims, said organizers of M27, the ad-hoc coalition behind the event.
It was one of a number of scattered demonstrations yesterday in New York as part of a “no business as usual” protest theme. A dozen people demonstrated outside Tiffany & Co., and five were arrested after a scuffle with police near CNN’s offices.
At the Fifth Avenue protest, officers arrested those who refused to rise. They cuffed many with plastic restraints before half-carrying them into waiting police trucks.
As helicopters hovered overhead, the protesters – some beating drums – chanted “Hey-hey, ho-ho, Bush’s war has to go” and “Peace now!”
They were sporadically heckled by passing businessmen and construction workers. One man in a red-white-and-blue bandanna and hardhat plastered with ironworkers’ union and Harley-Davidson stickers argued toe-to-toe with a ponytailed protester with long sideburns.