2011-08-11 - Cops Follow Indian Point Protesters On Metro-North Field Trip - Gothamist

Cops Follow Indian Point Protesters On Metro-North Field Trip
August 11th, 2011
John Del Signore



If you were worried that the festive cyclist demonstration against Indian Point might cause a meltdown on Metro-North, rest assured that the NYPD was all over it. On Tuesday a group of about twenty bike-riding activists wearing colorful jump suits and pinwheels on their heads pedaled from the LES to Grand Central Terminal, where they planned to hold a "no nukes" banner and then hop a train upstate. Not so fast, hippies—Grand Central is for frivolous Improv Everywhere stunts and network television promotions.

One of the activists, Barbara Ross, tells us police swarmed the group as soon as they arrived at the terminal, and a police official told their lawyer that if they opened up the banner, they would immediately be arrested. "I don't know why holding a banner is illegal," says Ross, "but a reporter showed us a photo of protesters at another Grand Central demonstration getting arrested for holding a banner." So instead, they took the banner outside and held it briefly on the sidewalk. It read, "YOU ARE 35 MILES FROM INDIAN POINT. WHAT WOULD YOU DO IN A MELTDOWN?"

From there the protesters boarded a train up to Peekskill, accompanied by six uniformed NYPD officers, who corralled them into four cars at the back of the train, for activists ONLY. Ross, who was running behind to catch up with the group, says, "The conductor asked me if I was with the protest, and she told me I had to go ride in the back of the train." Once the quarantined activists reached their destination, they parted ways with the NYPD, with tearful promises to meet up again at the same time in exactly ten years and make commemorative tie-dye T-shirts together while braiding eachother's hair (in a designated free speech zone).

Happily, the cyclists made new friends with the State Police, who followed them on their two mile bike ride to the Clearwater Sloop. Not until they got out onto the Hudson River did they finally have some time alone without cops suffocating them. As you can see here, they used the time show off no-nuke banners; the best one featured our favorite solution to the nation's energy problems: feline-powered windmills! And after three hours on the river, they reached Indian Point, where they sailed past the facility to once again demand its closure. (They also had a 5 minute "die in" on the boat.) The protest, which you can read more about here, was part of Time's Up's campaign to persuade New Yorkers to switch to wind power. And KITTEHS!

On a related note, today the environmental group Riverkeeper is expected to file a lawsuit demanding tougher safety standards at Indian Point, City Hall News reports. "They never plan for having a problem that affects both reactors at the same time, which seems ludicrous, but that's how they set it up," said Riverkeeper's Phillip Musegaas.