Occupy Wall Street activists took their protest against social inequality and corporate greed to New York’s Financial District Thursday, as police kept demonstrators from Wall Street itself. Minor skirmishes reported between protesters and police.
Police used barricades to shunt demonstrators around Wall Street, and to disperse what began as a march of several hundred people into a number of smaller groups. Protesters carried signs denouncing what they believe to be a wealthy one percent of Americans that have corrupted the country’s political and economic system with money.
Thousands of Occupy Wall Street protesters have held demonstrations in the United States and other cities around the world as part of a day of action marking the two-month anniversary of the start of the movement in a Manhattan park.
In New York Thursday, thousands of protesters marched across the Brooklyn Bridge, hours after anti-capitalist demonstrators pushed back against police and dismantled barriers that officers had erected around Wall Street. At least 200 people were arrested during the confrontations.
The mass protest took place two days after the city evicted protesters from lower Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park, which has been the epicenter of the movement. They were allowed to return to the public space, but prohibited from camping there. The protesters also took their demonstrations to New York’s subways.
Elsewhere, police in Los Angeles, California arrested at least 20 anti-Wall Street protesters while clearing a mini-camp in the downtown area. Similar demonstrations took place in Portland, Oregon and other U.S. cities. Demonstrators in Washington, DC marched on the sidewalk of the Key Bridge connecting Washington and Virginia as part of a nationwide “Get on the Bridge” call to action.
Overseas, anti-capitalist demonstrators camped outside St. Paul’s Cathedral in London refused to leave despite the expiration of a Thursday deadline for them to take down their tents or face legal action.
In the U.S., tension between demonstrators and local authorities has escalated as police clear protester encampments. The clearing of the Occupy camp in New York follows similar evictions in Portland, Atlanta as well as Oakland .
Trading at the New York Stock Exchange was not disrupted, as stockbrokers and other financial workers with proper IDs were allowed through barricades into the heart of the Financial District. Many of those workers say Occupy activists make some valid points, but that the movement is wrong to blame capitalism for the country’s political and economic problems. Bob Costello, an IT consultant with The Federal Reserve Bank, criticizes Occupy activists for lack of focus.
“They want to express the anger, but there’s no way to satisfy that anger,” said Costello. “Personally, I think they ought to be in Washington in front of Congress going, ‘maybe we should get our Congressman to get the companies out of their pockets.’ Because that’s what this is about, right?”
Occupy activist and barber shop owner Severin Dickson says the movement got its message out even if Thursday’s march failed to literally occupy Wall Street.
“I think this is just the very beginning,” said Dickson. “It’s not a fad, it’s not a phase. It’s a structural problem.”
As Dickson sees it, the structural problem involves moneyed and corporate interests that are buying political influence at the expense of ordinary people who need jobs, health insurance and education.
- Occupy Wall Street movement (ynative77.wordpress.com)
- Police Move Against Occupy Wall Street Protesters in Zuccotti Park – NYTimes.com (policyabcs.wordpress.com)