Eight arrested when Occupy movement comes to Pfizer

Members of the City of Groton Police Department talk to Erin Mitchell of New Haven before arresting her for crossing a police line during a protest outside the main entrance of the Pfizer Research & Development facility in Groton Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012.
Members of the City of Groton Police Department talk to Erin Mitchell of New Haven before arresting her for crossing a police line during a protest outside the main entrance of the Pfizer Research & Development facility in Groton Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012. Dana Jensen/The Day

Groton - Eight people from the Occupy movement were arrested for criminal trespass today outside the main gate of Pfizer Inc. when they crossed police lines and refused to leave the Eastern Point Road property.

Seven of the protesters linked arms just outside the pharmaceutical giant's entrance and refused to move, telling a Pfizer contractor that they wanted to talk to a company official. Chanting slogans such as "Hey Pfizer, what's the news -- we just want to talk to you," the group eventually was ushered into a van by state and Groton City police as the Occupy protesters yelled out "The whole world is watching" -- harkening back to language of the 1970s peace movement.

One other protester was later arrested for crossing police lines. All of the protesters were to be charged with criminal trespass, police said.

Protesters arrested identified themselves as Alex Suarez of Boston, Danielle Vigirolamo of New Haven, Ashley Gillece of Stonington, Cassie Johnson of Plainville, Jim Crombie of Coventry, Josh Heltke of New Haven and Gregory Walker of New Haven. Occupy members identified the eighth person arrested as Erin Mitchell of New Haven.

The protesters were part of a contingent of nearly 100 people that marched around Pfizer's largest worldwide site for most of the morning, demanding that the pharmaceutical giant renounce its membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council. ALEC is an organization that brings legislators and corporations together to write new laws that protesters say favor corporations over working people.

"We need disclosure," said Diane Hasz of Cromwell. "We need to know that a corporation is part of that bill."

Danielle Vigirolamo of New Haven, Ashley Gillece of Stonington, Cassie Johnson of Plainville, Jim Crombie of Coventry and Josh Heltke of New Haven link arms as they refuse to leave the main gate of the Pfizer Global Research and Development facility in Groton after they were told a representative of the company would not be coming out to speak with them Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012.  City of Groton police officers are in the background as they prepare to arrest the 7 protesters at the gate.  Occupy groups were at Pfizer to protest ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, and demand that Pfizer sever ties and to stop funding ALEC.  The group stopped at main gates of Pfizer and asked to talk to a representative of the company as they walked the entire perimeter of Pfizer and its neighboring streets.
Danielle Vigirolamo of New Haven, Ashley Gillece of Stonington, Cassie Johnson of Plainville, Jim Crombie of Coventry and Josh Heltke of New Haven link arms as they refuse to leave the main gate of the Pfizer Global Research and Development facility in Groton after they were told a representative of the company would not be coming out to speak with them Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012. City of Groton police officers are in the background as they prepare to arrest the 7 protesters at the gate. Occupy groups were at Pfizer to protest ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, and demand that Pfizer sever ties and to stop funding ALEC. The group stopped at main gates of Pfizer and asked to talk to a representative of the company as they walked the entire perimeter of Pfizer and its neighboring streets. Dana Jensen/The Day
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