Occupy Wall Street protesters arrested in New York

A number of protesters were arrested in New York on Friday

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A number of Wall Street protesters have been arrested in New York during scuffles with police as they marched towards the city's financial district.

The confrontation came after activists averted a showdown with authorities who agreed not to move them from a park.

Demonstrators said officials' plan to clean Zuccotti Park, where they have been based for weeks, had been a ploy to evict them.

The protests against corporate greed have spread to other US cities.

Several demonstrations are reportedly planned this weekend in Canada and Europe, as well as Asia and Africa.

'Be warned'

Fourteen arrests were made on Friday in Lower Manhattan.

At the scene

The protesters were surprised and delighted by the authorities' decision to delay the clean-up, and celebrated by drumming and chanting. Lindsay Anderson, a young New Yorker, told the BBC it was a testament to how effective a non-violent protest can be.

Hip hop magnate Russell Simmons, founder of the Def Jam recording label, told me: "So I'm not going to jail today? I had faith in Mayor Bloomberg to do the right thing." Simmons helped clean up the park overnight with the protesters.

Both he and Ms Anderson say corporations must be held accountable and shouldn't be allowed to donate millions of dollars to Washington politicians.

The wording of the city's statement suggests the reprieve may only be temporary. But for now the protesters feel their movement has spread beyond a mere location - on Saturday they're hoping to see protests against corruption and corporate greed across the world.

In the Colorado city of Denver on Friday, around two dozen demonstrators were detained as police removed their tents in Lincoln Park near the state Capitol.

And 10 Occupy Seattle protesters were held on Thursday when they ignored orders to leave their tents in the city's Westlake Park, said police.

Earlier, New York deputy mayor Cas Holloway released a statement from Zuccotti Park's owners, Brookfield Properties.

"They are postponing their scheduled cleaning of the park, and for the time being withdrawing their request from earlier in the week for police assistance during their cleaning operation," it said.

The statement said Brookfield hoped to "work out an arrangement with the protesters that will ensure the park remains clean, safe [and] available for public use".

An estimated 3,000 protesters streamed into the green space earlier. News of the authorities' climbdown prompted cheers.

The BBC's Laura Trevelyan in New York says it may be that the authorities decided there were just too many people to move.

Activists had sent an email to supporters on Thursday asking them to join the group and "defend the occupation from eviction".

They said on a Facebook page: "Be warned, this is a tactic that [New York City Mayor Michael] Bloomberg has used to shut down protests in the past, and a tactic used recently in similar protests throughout Europe."

Representatives of Brookfield Properties distributed its cleaning notice on Thursday. Some were escorted by police.

The park regulations existed before the protests began but have not been enforced.

They include a prohibition on lying down on the ground or on benches, using sleeping bags or tarps, or the storage of personal property.

New York City councillors joined protesters at a news conference on Thursday evening, calling the effort to move the protesters a "ruse" backed by Mr Bloomberg.

Throughout the park, where protesters have camped since mid-September, big buckets were filled with brooms and mops.

'Offensive odours'

As activists scrubbed the park on Thursday, some questioned the need to clean the space at all.

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Both Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party feel a deep frustration and a distrust of the elite who make the rules”

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Bailey Bryant, 28, a Manhattan bank employee who visits the camp after work and on weekends, told Reuters news agency: "We clean up after ourselves. It's not like there's rats and roaches running around the park."

There have been some flashpoints between police and protesters in recent weeks, with hundreds of people arrested this month during a march over the Brooklyn Bridge.

As the number of protesters sleeping in the park has grown, food stalls have sprung up, as well as an infirmary and a library.

But protesters have no toilet facilities of their own and depend on local restaurants near the park.

There have been reports of demonstrators urinating and defecating in the streets.

And residents have complained about lewdness, drug use, harassment and offensive odours from the protesters, Brookfield said.

Earlier this week, Mr Bloomberg said protesters would not be evicted from the park unless they broke the law.

The demonstration began on 17 September with a small group of activists and has swelled to include several thousand people at times, from many walks of life.

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