By Andrea Swalec and Julie Shapiro
DOWNTOWN — About 300 demonstrators from Occupy Wall Street joined health care advocates during a march Wednesday to the former St. Vincent’s Hospital to protest the lack of universal health care.
The marchers, who linked up with members of a group pushing for the return of a full-service medical facility to the West Village, chanted "We need a hospital!" and "They say cut back, we say fight back!" outside the storied former Catholic medical center at Seventh Avenue and West 11th Street.
"My kids were both born [at St. Vincent's], but there aren’t going to be kids born here anymore," said Christopher Hayes, of Chelsea, who came to the protest along with his 7- and 10-year-old daughters. "They’re going to be born in the back of cabs."
St. Vincent's was shuttered in April 2010 and there are now contentious plans, that have not yet been approved, to build luxury housing at the site as well as an urgent care facility.
Earlier, the demonstrators rallied outside the offices of health care provider WellPoint at One Liberty Plaza, near their encampment at Zuccotti Park, before heading north along Broadway.
"We are sick of people dying because they can't afford health care," one man shouted, as the rest of the protesters repeated after him. "We are sick and tired of being sick and tired. Expand Medicare for all until everyone is covered. Everyone in, nobody out."
Police and protesters cooperated well during the late-afternoon march, with officers stationed near Zuccotti Park leading the group based on demonstrators’ instructions and occasionally stopping traffic to let them through.