Occupy Wall Street: Arrests at New York two-month rally

The BBC's Laura Trevelyan says the situation around the New York Stock Exchange was tense before the opening bell

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Dozens of people have been arrested in New York as hundreds of Occupy Wall Street protesters attempted to march on the New York Stock Exchange.

At a rally to mark two months of protest, police blocked streets and protesters massed at junctions on the edge of the city's financial district.

Scuffles broke out, with police dragging some protesters away.

Protests are planned for cities across the US, two days after police cleared a camp in Zuccotti Park, New York.

In New York, city officials said they expected the number of demonstrators could reach the tens of thousands.

A heavy police presence could be seen around the streets near the stock exchange, with community affairs officers and riot police on duty.

'Bad guys'

"You do not have a parade permit! You are blocking the street!" a police officer told protesters through a bullhorn.

Analysis

It was tense at the corner of Wall Street and Broadway, with protesters shouting "shame" as police in riot gear arrested those they said were being disruptive. In the shadow of the New York Stock Exchange police erected barricades, keeping hundreds of protesters at bay. "Welcome to the police state," shouted demonstrators. "Get your corporate ID out."

The rush hour was disrupted, the streets around Wall Street full of those who had come to protest against corporate greed. "Pigs" they yelled as rows of NYPD officers moved protesters back.

Then as soon as the scuffles had begun they ended - now the protesters are back at Zuccotti Park, and later they will converge on subway stations and try to march over the Brooklyn Bridge. They want to prove the breaking up of their encampment hasn't ended their movement. The police don't want protesters to leave the bridge's pedestrian walkway, and there could be a clash in the offing.

A collection of protesters were arrested after they sat down in an intersection, while others were arrested as they tried to get closer to the stock exchange.

"All day, all week, shut down Wall Street!" the crowd chanted.

Police erected a barricade at the entrance to Wall Street, and only people with employee identification were being allowed past the barricade.

Gene Williams, a bond trader, joked to the Associated Press that he was "one of the bad guys" but said he empathised with the demonstrators.

"They have a point in a lot of ways," he said. "The fact of the matter is, there is a schism between the rich and the poor and it's getting wider."

Mike Tupea, a taxi driver and Romanian immigrant, had been stuck amid the traffic and protesters for 40 minutes.

"I have to make a living. I pay $100 for 12 hours for this cab. I am losing money every minute,'" he told Reuters. "I have all my sympathies for this movement but let me do my living, let working people make a living."

Thursday's event was planned before a police raid earlier this week on the New York Occupy camp.

'Direct action'

As well as the rally, organiser called for demonstrations in 16 New York subway stations at 15:00 (20:00 GMT), and a march from City Hall to the Brooklyn Bridge two hours later - although police have said this will not be allowed.

Start Quote

We are certainly anticipating tens of thousands of people protesting”

End Quote Howard Wolfson New York Deputy Mayor

New York Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson told reporters the authorities were braced for large crowds of protesters to congest subways and bridges.

"We take it seriously. Our forces will be deployed accordingly."

After Tuesday's surprise pre-dawn raid, police allowed demonstrators to return but banned them from setting up camp again. Numbers dwindled to less than two dozen overnight.

Some of the 200 protesters detained during the eviction appeared in court on Wednesday.

"This movement is really not about tents as much as it is about an idea and we're keeping the idea through a number of direct action things planned [for Thursday]," protest spokesman Ed Needham was quoted as saying by Reuters.

Dorli Rainey, 84, is helped away after police pepper-sprayed demonstrators at Occupy Seattle, 15 November Dorli Rainey, 84, was hit by pepper spray in Seattle on Tuesday night

In other developments on Wednesday:

  • There was outrage after an 84-year-old Seattle woman was hit by police pepper spray during a march the night before
  • Up to 80 protesters were detained after they stormed a San Francisco branch of Bank of America and tried to set up camp in the lobby
  • In San Diego, nearly 10 people were arrested as police tried to dismantle an encampment in the city centre
  • Police in South Carolina began arresting Occupy Columbia demonstrators at the statehouse grounds
  • In London, activists outside St Paul's Cathedral were ordered to leave by Thursday evening or face legal action

A number of similar encampments have been removed in US cities in recent days.

Scores of arrests were made as police removed tents in Oakland, California and Burlington, Vermont.

But evictions went peacefully elsewhere, including Atlanta, Georgia; Portland, Oregon; and Salt Lake City, Utah.

US Europe UK Canada Australia Protests map

US

New York

The most high profile protest has been Occupy Wall Street in New York, which began on 17 September. The protesters call themselves "the 99%" and are demanding major reforms of the global financial system by curbing the power of banks and corporations. Protests have also taken place in cities across the US, including Washington DC, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Houston and Boston. On 15 November, police moved in to clear the Occupy Wall Street protest, earlier they had cleared camps in Portland, Oregon and Oakland, California.

Europe

Europe

A protest in Madrid's Sol Square began in May and turned into a week-long sit in. Renewed protests in Europe started on 15 October with demonstrations in Rome, Berlin, Frankfurt, Leipzig, Hamburg, Dublin, Bucharest, Zurich and other cities. Demonstrations were largely peaceful, but around 70 people were injured when violence broke out in Rome.

UK

London

Protests at the London Stock Exchange in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street began on 15 October. After being denied access to Paternoster Square in front of the stock exchange, demonstrators organised a camp of around 150 tents outside St Paul's Cathedral. Protesters were told their camp could remain until the new year, on condition some tents blocking the "public highway" were removed. But the City of London Corporation said it was proceeding with legal action on 16 November, after talks with the protesters broke down.

Canada

Canada

Demonstrations and protest camps began on 15 October in major cities, including Calgary, Halifax, Quebec, Toronto, Vancouver and Victoria. Police have cleared protesters from sites in Halifax and Ontario but campaigners at the biggest camp, in Toronto, have been allowed to remain.

Australia

Australia

Protests began in Sydney and Melbourne on 15 October. Police forcibly removed around 100 demonstrators from the Melbourne camp on 21 October.

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