Occupy Wall Street protesters fan out from Wall Street
After blocking multiple streets and intersections in Manhattan’s financial district early Thursday morning, hundreds of anti-greed protesters returned to their original site at Zuccotti Park to mark the two-month anniversary of Occupy Wall Street. Other forays throughout the city were also underway.
When they first arrived back at the park, the protesters tried to take away the metal barricades that police had erected to corral demonstrators and keep the sidewalks clear. But police in riot gear returned the barricades and protesters continued to mill around.
With police only admitting people through a couple of tightly controlled entrances, the number of officers almost appeared to outnumber the protesters inside the park. Those who were inside the park -- a few hundred -- weren't doing much beyond chatting among themselves and eating lunches they'd carried inside.
"Tax the rich, end the wars, feed the poor," read one masked protester's sign.
Overall, the scene in the park was calm. It was still much less so up and down Broadway, which runs past the park.
Wall Street remained barricaded to all but those people who could show they work there. Police and barricades lined both sides of Broadway for several blocks, with officers ordering pedestrians to "move along" and "keep walking," but the massive crowds of earlier in the day were gone.
An estimated three dozen people had been arrested since 7 a.m., and several people injured, including four police officers who had a liquid -- believed to be vinegar -- flung in their eyes.
The initial goal Thursday morning was to shut down the New York Stock Exchange, but that didn’t happen. Police were able to disperse protesters throughout the warren of streets in the financial district.
And Rich Adamonis, a New York Stock Exchange spokesman, had this to say: “Somebody is spreading a rumor that the market opened 20 minutes late. It was business as usual."
However, many Wall Street workers were frustrated in their attempts to get to work by protesters who linked arms and at times sat down on the streets.
Overall, by noon EST, protesters were on the move again, congregating first near Trinity Church and heading north on Broadway. Their plan for later in the day was to occupy about 16 subway stations and mass transit hubs across the five boroughs with the intention of making a statement but not stopping transit, according to a spokesman for the protesters.
The one-day demonstration comes after a tumultuous week in which police in an overnight raid evicted protesters from their tent-city in Zuccotti Park and cleared out their tarps, tents, generators and other belongings.
The protesters were allowed back in the park Tuesday after the owner power-washed the paved park and police established a new order preventing tents from the area and stopping protesters from sleeping there.
-- Geraldine Baum and Tina Susman in New York
Photo: A protester is arrested Thursday as hundreds of Occupy Wall Street protesters marched through the financial district trying to shut off access to the New York Stock Exchange and major banks. They were met by helmeted police at every corner on Wall Street. Credit: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times