Nine people were arrested Tuesday afternoon as a rally for peace, beginning at Binghamton University, quickly escalated to violence. Seven of the people arrested are currently Binghamton University students, who were protesting the ongoing war in Iraq.
Three of the students remain in custody on charges including obstructing governmental administration in the second degree, resisting arrest (both Class A misdemeanors) and disorderly conduct (a violation).
Tensions rose between protestors and local police as the group blocked off a lane of traffic while moving the demonstration to Vestal Parkway, a main road outside of Binghamton University. The confrontations began shortly after 1 p.m. as police and protestors became more aggressive towards each other.
As the protesters neared their destination, an Army recruitment office, John Butler, Vestal’s chief of police, said officers told them to move over to one lane of the parkway. Police attempted to guide protesters to “walk on the inside land down to the Plaza.” One student jumped into the passing lane, Butler said, and started jumping in front of a police car, causing the officer to “brake suddenly.”
An officer exited his car to arrest the student and was greeted by 60 other aggressive protestors, said Butler. Pepper spray was used on several of the protesters “when the people who were arrested started to shove,” he said.
“You mace a rapist, not students that are protesting,” said Alisa Selman, a senior sociology major who was at the protest and whose boyfriend was one of the first individuals detained.