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14 Protesters Hang From Triborough Bridge

September 15, 1988

NEW YORK (AP) _ Fourteen Greenpeace members swung on ropes beneath the Triborough Bridge on Wednesday to protest ocean dumping, and tied up traffic on the span and on the East River below, authorities said.

The demonstrators took to the bridge at 5:45 p.m., dangling above the East River with their banner reading ″Stop Ocean Dumping Now,″ said Greenpeace spokesman Andrew Davis.

They hoped to block barges carrying sludge for ocean dumping, he said. But Tina Casey, spokeswoman for the Department of Environmental Conservation, said no barges were scheduled to depart during the protest.

″So far, it hasn’t affected us at all,″ she said.

The protest forced officials to shut down two westbound lanes of the bridge, which links Manhattan and the Bronx with Queens, while eastbound traffic was at a near standstill due to rubber-necking, authorities said.

After more than five hours, the protesters remained suspended about 100 feet above the water, forcing the Coast Guard to stop all traffic on the waterway from passing under the bridge, said Coast Guard spokesman Joe Gibson.

″Basically, we’re waiting it out,″ said Gibson. ″There’s not too much we can do.″

It was the second Greenpeace action in as many days aimed against the Wards Island Sewage Station.

Davis said the swinging protesters planned to lower themselves and deny access to any sewage barges leaving the station, which is on the East River island.

On Tuesday, five members of the worldwide ecological group were arrested after they chained a dinghy to the rear of a sewage barge, with a protester chained to a mooring line for the dinghy, police said.

That protest delayed the departure of the barge for three hours, authorities said. The barge, one of four operated by the city, was heading to an ocean dumping site 106 miles from New York Harbor.

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