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Wall Street demonstrator occupies statue

October 22, 2011 4:34:18 PM PDT
A protester stood far apart from the rest of the Occupy Wall Street demonstrator after climbing atop a giant sculpture in Lower Manhattan.

Police say 24-year-old Dylan Spoelstra climbed a 40-foot-tall steel sculpture at Zuccotti Park and refused to come down unless police met his demands.

One of his requests was the resignation of Mayor Bloomberg.

After three hours of talking to police negotiators, Spoelstra agreed to safely come down.

Emergency medical service units were also on standby.

The protester was taken to a nearby hospital, where he is being receiving mental evaluation.

Other protesters were not happy with Spoelstra's demonstration and feared that his action tainted what the Occupy Wall Street movement was really all about - a peaceful protest.

Earlier Saturday, Occupy Wall Street marched on the Upper West Side led by folk singers Pete Seeger and Arlo Guthrie.

The group gathered near Symphony Space at West 95th Street and Broadway at 10:30 p.m. Friday night and marched south on Broadway to Columbus Circle, where they sang overnight.

Back at Zuccotti Park, however, it appears the relationship between demonstrators and the community is reaching a boiling point.

"We have the fundamental right to protest and to assemble, and that's something we should all care about," one protester said. "And we have the fundamental right of the community and the individuals to peaceably enjoy their homes."

Many of the people who live in the neighborhood are concerned about the noise of protesters playing instruments and chanting.

"The occupiers are not our neighbors," one resident said. "Our neighbors do not beat on drums while children are sleeping."

"The drum rolling is unbearable," another said. "I don't know what else to tell you."

They're also upset about police barricades used to control the crowd.

"We support the people's right to gather and to protest, but we need the barricades down," a resident said. "We are living behind barricades, and it's killing our businesses."

Representatives of Occupy Wall Street say they are working to enforce limits the group has set for drumming and other noise issues.

"I know that there's a growing consensus, if not a true consensus, amongst everyone there, that we need to be better neighbors," Occupy Wall Street spokesman Han Shan said.

The community board passed a resolution recognizing Occupy Wall Street's First Amendment rights to protest and to assemble. But members are also calling for protesters to help address noise, sanitation and public safety concerns.

The group hosted a sleepover for families in Zuccott Park Friday night.


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