Occupy Wall Street Marches on Times Square Amid Global Protests
By DNAinfo Staff on October 15, 2011 3:57pm |
By Marina Lopes and Tom Liddy
MANHATTAN — Tens of thousands of Occupy Wall Street protesters, emboldened after plans to clean their encampment at Zuccotti Park were scrapped, crammed into the Crossroads of the World after marching on banks across Manhattan Saturday amid a series of rallies across the globe.
More than 70 people were arrested throughout the day, including 42 in Times Square, five for wearing masks on Sixth Avenue and 27th Street and 20 at a bank sit-in in the East Village, cops said. Three officers also suffered minor injuries.
A massive police presence lined Sixth Avenue as the protesters marched north from Washington Square Park. Despite warnings not to block pedestrian traffic, protesters poured into the street as the throngs who gathered screamed "Whose streets? Our streets!"
"This is a warning," cops yelled. "You are blocking pedestrian traffic. If you keep blocking pedestrian traffic you will be arrested."
But the protesters shot back: "We are pedestrian traffic. You're blocking pedestrian traffic."
So many demonstrators streamed down 46th Street, on their way to Times Square that several cops who were on motorcycle were forced to turned back.
"Take Times Square!" they said. Afterwards, cops on horseback and officers in riot gear flooded into the area, hemming the throngs in with barricades.
Around 7:30 p.m., the crowds started to disperse, with many people heading down to Washington Square Park for an "after party" and a meeting.
Tension rose after a group became stuck behind barricades at 47th Street and Seventh Avenue, and wanted to cross to the other Side of Times Square. But police eventually let them through to cheers.
Several protesters adopted a clean-cut look for the day, donning suits and ties among other get-ups.
"I am wearing this suit to be taken seriously," said Timbo Covington of Boon, NC. "If I treat this occupation seriously and with respect, then people will treat me with respect."
The demonstrations came amid a series of similar protests around the world and country in support of the anti-Wall Street greed movement, some of which turned violent. In Rome, anarchists burned cars, clashed with police and fought other protesters, CNN said.
Some 10,000 converged on Madrid's Plaza di Cibeles and thousands of others marched through the streets of London protesting service cuts, the report said.
Earlier in Manhattan, 24 people were arrested at a Citibank on LaGuardia Place and West 3rd Street and charged with criminal trespass, police said. One was also charged with resisting arrest.
Witnesses told DNAinfo that a group tried to stage a sit-in at the branch but then were locked inside by police.
"Undercover cops locked them in," said architect-in-training Alex Gilliam, 37, who was at the Center for Architecture on LaGuardia Place. "It looked like some of the ring leaders were what police focused on.
Gilliam said that the protesters were locked inside for around 40 minutes.
"I don’t think they expected to get locked in," he said. "A couple tried to get out."
In the end, some were arrested while others were allowed to leave, Gilliam said.
The NYPD's chief spokesman, Paul Browne, said that the protesters arrested at the bank represented a fraction of those who had peaceably marched from Zuccotti Park to Washington Square Park.
"They had refused the bank manager’s request to leave," said Browne in a statement. "With the exception of the one who resisted as he was taken into custody outside after trying to avoid arrest inside, and in contrast to others arrested yesterday, they were compliant and did not resist when they were taken into custody."
Around the same time, dozens of others converged on a Chase Branch at Lafayette Street and Astor Place, sitting outside the bank and telling customers to close their accounts.
"We were sitting here and the police came with paddy wagons and people started to leave," said Maeve Dwyer, 18, a Bard College student. "But then, we said we were not going to leave."
One protester said that he was going to close his account but was told by police that the bank was closed, even though it was 2:45 p.m., before business hours were over.
Eventually cops allowed him inside, but the man came out minutes later saying that he forgot his state ID and couldn't close his account.
Several protesters were wearing suits, including artist Michael Antuono, 55, who sported a pig's head as he marched with the group through the Village.
"My name is Wally the corporate hog," he said. "Ready to eat your slice of the American pie."