24 September, 2009
NYPD abuse of authority big factor in arrest
Andy Bichlbaum, co-founder of activist group the Yes Men, emerged after 26 hours in New York City’s central lockup with all charges against him dismissed.
“The judge just laughed,” said Bichlbaum. “The police had a less well-developed sense of humor – and, it turned out, much less regard for the law. But all in all, I’m ecstatic that they arrested me.”
At 10am Tuesday, Bichlbaum was arrested and charged with trespassing, after he and 21 “Survivaballs”  gathered on New York City’s East River and announced they were to going to “take the UN by storm” from the water, since all the land approaches were sealed. Once at the UN, they would supposedly use the Survivaballs to blockade the negotiations and refuse to let world leaders leave the room until they’d agreed on sweeping cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, as Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has demanded.
The event was a “scenic and mediagenic way to call attention to what our leaders need to do in the run-up to Copenhagen,” said Bichlbaum.  It was also the official inauguration of the Yes Men’s “Balls Across America” series of civil disobedience actions, inspired by the call for direct action on climate change by website http://BeyondTalk.net.
Minutes after the balls began wading into the water, law enforcement swooped in on the protesters by land, sea, and air. In order not to harm their attackers, the balls admitted defeat and waddled out of the water and off the beach. Seven participants were given tickets for trespassing, and one – ringleader Bichlbaum – was whisked away to “the Tombs,” New York’s central processing facility at 100 Centre Street, due to an unpaid ticket for bicycle riding through Washington Square Park.
Bichlbaum’s arrest led to hilarious prime-time coverage on CNN. Continue reading →