LOWER MANHATTAN – One hundred protesters were arrested and many more clashed with police in scenes reminiscent of Occupy Wall Street during the Flood Wall Street sit-in to protest climate change Monday, officials said.
Police used what appeared to be pepper spray on some of marchers who tried to push past a police blockade on Broadway at Wall Street about 4:30 p.m. while chanting "Push Through! Push Through!" A gust of wind blew back some of the chemicals onto the authorities.
Three demonstrators were arrested in the 10-minute fracas, the first of 100 who were arrested by the end of the day, a police spokesman said. Most of the day's arrests were charged with disorderly conduct, he added.
After the struggle protesters staged a sit-in on Broadway at Wall Street. Some tossed blue powder in the air to symbolize "flooding Wall Street."
About 7 p.m., at the same intersection approximately 50 people sitting in a circle in the middle of the road were handcuffed by police after being warned to move three times over a loudspeaker. The protesters did not appear to resist police. Police loaded the demonstrators, including a man wearing a polar bear costume, in custody into two white NYPD buses and drove off.
Police issued summonses to four people in motorized wheelchairs for disorderly conduct, failure to dispurse and blocking traffic, according to one of the women who received a citation.
Nadina Laspina, 66, and her husband Daniel Robert, 67, who uses a ventilator, were among the people to receive summonses.
They were inspired to join the demonstration against climate change after living through two hurricanes.
We rely on electricity,” she said. “My husband uses a ventilator. We want action to be taken on climate change.”
The protesters had planned to march to the New York Stock Exchange to shake up the day-to-day dealings in the Financial District to call attention to the companies believed to be getting rich off of climate change, supporters said.
A large blue banner that read "Corporate Capitalism = Climate Chaos" could be seen among the hundreds of people sitting down in resistance to police.
Before the fracas, marchers told DNAinfo that Monday’s rally and sit-in would be more radical than Sunday’s People’s Climate March, and they expected to be arrested.
It's an issue that's life or death,'' said Michael Premo, 32, an organizer from Bedford Stuyvesant.
''There's a global community of people who have already been affected and are willing to do whatever it takes. I hope from this we can send a clear message.''
The protest began Monday morning with a rally in Battery Park before protesters wearing blue shirts with “Stop Funding Fossils” written on them started to march towards the Financial District.
It is unclear who organized the protest.
Among the marchers were City Councilmen Ydanis Rodriguez and Jumaane Williams. Robert F. Kennedy tweeted that he too was at the march.
''I have two daughters and I want them and the future generations to be sure we still have our planet,” Rodriguez told DNAinfo.
''I believe climate change is real. We should come together and take the necessary steps so we can save our planet.''
additional reporting by Ben Fractenberg