Hofstra University students arrested at Presidential Debate site.
Three local college students were among 15 people arrested during a protest outside Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., before Wednesday night’s presidential debate.
Three people were reported injured when mounted police moved in to disperse the group.
The local students were part of a seven-member group that left Boston for New York Wednesday afternoon to protest the Iraq war and demand to ask questions of the presidential nominees. Police identified them as Megan Day, 19, and Michael Spinnato, 24, from the University of Massachusetts at Boston; and Lianne Gillooly, 21, of Boston University. Day and Spinnato are members of UMass-Boston’s antiwar coalition; Spinnato also belongs to a group called Iraq Veterans Against the War.
The three were arrested on charges of disorderly conduct about 7:30 p.m. They were taken to the Nassau County Police Station and released early yesterday, Day said.
The Associated Press quoted police saying that protesters were arrested trying to get onto the Hofstra campus after they were turned away from the university’s north gate.
UMass-Boston student Stephanie Fail, who was outside the debate site with the antiwar group, said the protest escalated into a terrifying scene after the first round of arrests when mounted police ordered the protesters to remain on the sidewalk.
“After peacefully complying to remain on the sidewalk, police [on foot] began dragging protestors from the crowd,” Fail said.
But when the crowd tried to keep protesters from being pulled away, she said, a mounted officer charged onto the sidewalk and directed his horse to make a full circle in the middle of the crowd.
“People were trampled,” she said, including one protester who was left unconscious with a broken cheekbone.
Iraq Veterans Against the War identified the injured man as Nicholas Morgan, 25, a former Army sergeant of Washington, D.C.
Members of the veterans’ group were clad in military dress, the organization’s T-shirts, and combat uniforms.
Of the protestors arrested, 10 were veterans, the group said.