NEW YORK — Gotham City police arrested four Greenpeace protesters, including Batman and Robin posers, Feb. 13 at the American International Toy Fair.
``We're here to protect your children from vinyl toys,'' Robin shouted down to several hundred spectators from his perch high in the rafters of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.
The costumed duo later hung a 10-foot-by-30-foot Greenpeace banner with the message, ``Play Safe, Don't Buy Vinyl Toys.''
``We got a message across,'' said Deborah Rephan, a Greenpeace spokeswoman at the scene. ``And we did it in a safe manner. No one was hurt.''
Attendee Dave Nott of Paradise, Pa., partially agreed: ``They got what they wanted — a lot of attention.''
Kelly Osborne, 29, of Flower Mound, Texas, (alias Batman); Daniel Rudie, 32, of Washington (Robin); and Timothy Martin, 34, of Brooklyn, N.Y., (Riddler) were charged with reckless endangerment, criminal trespass and disorderly conduct. A fourth man was charged with trespassing.
Many of the spectators in Javits Center had thought the activists clambering about their aerie were Toy Fair entertainers. Most appeared amused as New York police and Javits' security officers cordoned off areas under the climbers and evacuated the show's press center shortly before noon.
``I think it's funny,'' said Jackie Friedman of Ocean City, Md., a show attendee.
Members of the New York Police Department's emergency services unit from the Manhattan South Task Force climbed the structure to pursue the demonstrators, who agreed to come down and be arrested after hanging the banner. Police removed the banner as the activists descended.
Robert Burnett, executive director of the Vinyl Institute, reiterated the institute's support of the New York-based Toy Manufacturers of America Inc.'s position, which rejects Greenpeace's allegations. VI is in Morristown, N.J.