NEW YORK – An “Occupy Wall Street” protester who scaled a 30-foot sculpture in lower Manhattan on Saturday morning demanded a cigarette, a jacket and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s resignation.
Dylan Spoelstra, 24, from Toronto, was brought to Bellevue Hospital for psychiatric evaluation after voluntarily surrendering to the NYPD shortly after 9:00am ET. His stunt ushered in a day of several planned “Occupy Wall Street” marches and rallies slated for Saturday afternoon, even though Bloomberg warned Friday that police are going to start cracking down the permit-less events.
Spoelstra, who had been ticketed by the NYPD for public urination at 3:14am, told his protester pals about an hour later that he was going to climb the bright red artwork known as “Joie de Vivre” on Broadway on the west side of Zuccotti Park. He eyed the ring of cops standing nearby for several minutes, then dashed across the street and clambered up one of the large vertical beams, a friend told the New York Post.
“He went up like a ring-tailed lemur,” said Patrick Griese, who held Spoelstra’s jacket for him.
The 24-year-old tried to reach the top of the structure but ran out of steam about halfway up, witnesses said. He perched on a beam and shouted out a list of his demands until the NYPD hostage unit was brought in to deal with him.
Spoelstra initially demanded that 15 percent of staffers on the FDNY and NYPD be bisexual, witnesses said, but then changed his mind and said he wanted 15 of the police officers on the scene to leave. He later added a demand for racial quotas in NYPD hiring.
He also told police he would not come down until Bloomberg resigned — and asked for a cigarette and a jacket to get warm.
“He’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer,” said Griese, who met Spoelstra a few days ago at the Zuccotti Park encampment that’s now in its second month and causing increasing friction with New Yorkers who live nearby.
“Let him stay up there until next year. Who cares?” shouted one fed up woman who spotted cops negotiating with a perched Spoelstra as she walked by.