Dozens of "Occupy Wall Street" protesters were arrested for attempting to turn Trinity Church’s parking lot into their new campsite Saturday.
Gideon Oliver, president of the New York City chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, reported that 55 individuals were taken into custody. Meanwhile, between five to 10 members of the clergy were also reportedly arrested.
Local police officers, however, did not have an official count of how many protesters were arrested.
The now-jailed protesters tried to climb over a chain-link fence around the church parking lot. A wooden ladder was used to scale Liberty’s fence, while a crowd of onlookers cheered the climbers on. This event took place at Trinity Church, located in New York City.
Trinity Church's rector, James H. Cooper, issued a statement on the church's website saying, "We are saddened that OWS protesters chose to ignore yesterday's messages" from several Episcopal and Anglican church leaders, including South African Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu.
Cooper also gave a statement on why the Church's lot would not be a safe place to occupy. "There are no facilities at the Canal Street lot," he wrote. "Demanding access and vandalizing the property by a determined few OWS protesters won't alter the fact that there are no basic elements to sustain an encampment. The health, safety and security problems posed by an encampment here, compounded by winter weather, would dwarf those experienced at Zuccotti Park."
Police proceeded to turn away the remaining demonstrators who marched through Manhattan's streets toward the house of the Trinity Church rector. Ever since Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan was closed off to protesters, they have tried to find a new space to take refuge in.
David Suker, one of the protesters involved in this incident, gave a statement to SFGate.com. "We're just trying to say that this country has gone in the wrong direction, and we need spaces that we can control and we can decide our future in, and that's what this is about," he said.
Police shutdowns of protester encampment sites have gone down in Los Angeles, San Francisco and other major cities. The embedded video below shows footage of the incident as it occurred this past Saturday.