'Day of action' on 2-month birthday of Wall Street protests

Wall Street Protests
New York, Nov 18: The two month birthday of the Occupy Wall Street protests today (Nov 18) was christened as a 'Day of Action' with over 300 protesters arrested as thousands others criss-crossed the city.

The protesters began their day clashing with the police at the New York Stock Exchange and ending it with a candle-light march on Brooklyn Bridge.

The protesters had declared their packed agenda for the day, undeterred by the police raid on their headquarters in Zuccotti park in Lower Manhattan three days ago.

The day began with protesters marching to the NYSE and preventing traders from entering the premises.

Banner-carrying and slogan-shouting demonstrators clashed with the New York Police Department personnel, who swung batons and tried to keep the crowd off the roads and intersections and ensuring that the demonstrators do not disrupt trading at the exchange.

As the day progressed, protesters took to the subways, "occupying" 16 subway stations and passing on pamphlets to the passengers.

Police personnel and sniffer dogs were deployed at metro stations, while police vans dotted the roads and helicopters circled overhead across the city.

Thousands of students and workers then gathered in Union Square shouting "Shut the city down" and talking about how banks and corporate greed have impacted the 99 per cent of the population.

Then an estimated 30,000 protesters marched toward Foley Square to join another large contingent of labour unions and fellow occupiers.

Police said more than 300 people were arrested, five protesters were charged with felony assault and seven officers and 10 protesters were injured during the day long action to "resist austerity, rebuild our economy, and reclaim our democracy".

Protesters played music, beat drums as chants of "Bloomberg beware, Zuccotti Park is everywhere", "Whose Streets? Our Streets", "We are the 99 per cent" and "Happy Birthday occupy wall street NYC" reverberated on the roads.

Protesters then streamed onto the pedestrian walkway of the Brooklyn Bridge carrying candles as they peacefully crossed the East River.

Protesters said "Our will was only emboldened by Mayor Michael Bloomberg's heavy-handed attempt to eradicate the Occupy movement and the violent tactics used by the NYPD to evict our homes at Liberty Square.

"Together, we collectively raised our voices to say, 'No to police violence! No to evictions!'".

Zuccotti Park, ground zero for the protests was quiet in the evening with a handful of people sitting in the park as police personnel manned the streets.

Some protesters briefly removed barricades while some gathered to meditate and did yoga, urging passersby to join them.

During the day, one protester was led out of Zuccotti Park after his forehead began bleeding.

The man, identified as 20 year old Branton Watts, had thrown batteries at police officers who then chased him across the park.

Watts injured himself as he fell to the ground and police said he was charged with attempted assault and grand larceny.

This was the fourth time he was arrested since the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations began.

City Councilman Jumaane Williams was among the about 80 protesters arrested at Brooklyn bridge after they sat down in the roadway in a coordinated action at the base of the bridge.

At a news conference at Bellevue Hospital Center, where an officer was being treated for a lacerated hand, Bloomberg said, "Unfortunately, some protesters today have deliberately pursued violence".

In Los Angeles, protesters peacefully shut down a bridge into the financial district with 16 arrests, while in Detroit, thousands marched through the city.

In Washington, protesters demonstrated in support of increased infrastructure projects on the Key Bridge and in Philadelphia, 1,500 people marched on the streets where at least 25 people were arrested during a non-violent sit-in.

Over 2,000 people gathered in Miami, hundreds courted arrest in Houston and Conncticut.

"Today, we proved that the spirit of Occupy and the will of the 99 per cent is stronger than ever. You cannot evict an idea whose time has come," the protesters said on their website.


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