177 arrested as police clash with Wall Street protesters

 

New York

Occupy Wall Street protesters fought with police in New York after they tried but failed to take over the streets around the Stock Exchange in downtown Manhattan and disrupt the usual market opening. Disturbances on the two-month anniversary of the movement also broke out in other US cities.

Police said that at least 177 people had been in arrested in Manhattan, with seven officers suffering minor injuries.

After most of the protesters repelled from the area around Wall Street, about a thousand of them marched back to Zuccotti Park, the public plaza that became the focal point for the movement before it spread rapidly to cities across the country.

They have struggled to organise themselves since being evicted from Zuccotti Park by the mayor, Michael Bloomberg, on Monday night. They are now allowed into the park only during the day and must not take in items such as tents or sleeping bags.

The breakfast-time invasion of Wall Street might not have kept traders from their desks, but it certainly caused confusion and noise. "We are the 99 per cent," some protesters chanted as they banged drums. To the police blocking their way they yelled: "You're sexy, you're blue, now take off that riot suit."

In Los Angeles, hundreds of protesters and union members marched through the financial district shouting: "Whose streets? Our streets."

In Dallas more than a dozen people were arrested after police broke up an encampment near City Hall.

The morning march on Wall Street attracted a huge police response and intensive live media coverage but may not have drawn the numbers its organisers had been hoping for. A spokesman said: "We certainly want to see more people mobilise and show up."

But he added: "It was a fantastic turn-out. We occupied corners and intersections all over downtown."

Most of the arrests in New York came when marchers tore down metal police barriers set up to ensure they entered Zuccotti Park in single file. The protest in the city was expected to grow during the day, however, and there were plans to occupy subway stations and to hold a rally outside City Hall – which many union members were likely to join – and a march across Brooklyn Bridge.

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