NEW YORK, US (Aug 30) - Forty-nine bicyclists were arrested last night in Manhattan at the monthly Critical Mass ride, the police department reported.
The rides are described by their organizers, the environmental advocacy group Time's Up!, as a demonstration to promote the use of transportation other than cars. The ride at Republican National Convention a year ago swelled to more than 5,000 riders, several hundred of whom were arrested. Since then, the rides have become a point of contention with the police.
The captain who was overseeing arrests at Astor Place said the bicyclists were being charged with parading without a permit, disorderly conduct and obstructing traffic.
The bicyclists, who have split into different starting points since the police confrontations began, began riding last night around 7:30. About 250 cyclists started in Union Square with 15 officers on scooters behind them. As that group moved through the city, officers from different directions converged on the group and bisected it, arresting bicyclists.
"People have a right to ride their bicycles on the street of New York," said Norman Siegel, a lawyer who represents the group. He is also a candidate for the city's public advocate.