By MICHAEL WILSON
Tourists in the financial district hoping for a good picture of the famous bull statue got an extra treat this afternoon: two urban climbers sliding up flagpoles and draping an anti-Wall Street banner between them.
The event took place shortly after noon, and quickly drew a ring of onlookers with cameras around their necks to Bowling Green at the foot of Broadway. It also drew, just as quickly, the police, including Emergency Service Unit officers. The very same officers are among more than 400 who have been ordered to undergo retraining in dealing with disturbed people after last week’s fatal encounter with a man atop a 10-foot ledge in Bedford-Stuyvesant. An officer shot the man, Iman Morales, 35, with a Taser gun, and he fell to his death.
Today’s encounter went smoothly enough to resemble a training exercise. The protesters had used straps and harnesses to climb about 40 feet to affix their banner, an American flag with the word “Foreclosed?” spread across the red and white stripes, and a Web site address (www.dirtymoney.org
) along the bottom.
The Rainforest Action Network organized the protest. Samantha Corbin, one of the climbers, said in a written statement before the climb, “It is time to stop the risky financial behavior that is now mortgaging our homes and our planet.” Anything she had to say atop the pole was drowned out by the spectators and traffic.