The Occupiers, despite small crowds at moments, are claiming that Thursday’s “Day of Action” protest was a major success. While protesters failed to shut down the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the New York City transit system, they were successful at blocking traffic and changing the city’s dynamics, as they converged in New York’s busy streets.
Throughout the day, there were more than 200 arrests, complete with sometimes violent clashes between police and Occupiers. As a result, five protesters were charged with felony assault and seven officers and 10 protesters sustained injuries.
Among those notable individuals taken into custody was Mary Kay Henry, the president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Also arrested was city councilman Jumaane D. Williams and George Fresham, president of 1199/S.E.I.U., United Healthcare Workers East. Henry and company were blocking a roadway that leads to the Brooklyn Bridge when authorities detained them.
Below, watch video of the SEIU national president being taken into custody, as she chants along with protesters, “We are the 99 percent!” According to police, Henry, Williams and Fresham will post likely be charged with disorderly conduct:
Earlier this week, Henry made the SEIU’s endorsement of President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign official. Salon has more:
Just weeks after issuing a union-wide endorsement of Occupy Wall Street, the 2.1-million-member Service Employees International Union announced this morning it is also endorsing President Obama for reelection.
In an interview with Salon following a conference call announcing the endorsement, SEIU president Mary Kay Henry stressed the union will not try to enlist occupiers as ground troops for Obama’s reelection — but SEIU also plans to stay involved with the Occupy movement into 2012. SEIU, then under the leadership of Andy Stern, spent millions of dollars helping to elect Obama in 2008.
Henry appeared on MSNBC earlier on Thursday to discuss her union’s 2012 electoral plans. In her interview, she says, “The Republican field has made us very concerned that we need to step out now” to prevent what she believes is a dangerous, GOP agenda.
And she goes on to call the Occupy movement, “an inspiring movement for change”:
Considering her deep involvement in the movement, it’s hard to imagine that she and the SEIU won’t encourage members to join in.