Wall Street protesters launch New York demonstration

2011-11-17 14:49

Several hundred Occupy Wall Street activists rallied in New York today promising a major show of strength on the movement’s two month anniversary and after police shut down their tent camp.

“Let’s shut down Wall Street!” a man cried out to cheers from the crowd gathering early on a chilly, windy morning in the Financial District, the symbolic heart of a movement which has spread to other cities in the United States and around the world.

Numbers were initially little more than 300 but growing steadily, and leaders expected thousands to take part in a day of actions planned to target the New York Stock Exchange, subway trains and the Brooklyn Bridge.

Police initially maintained a low profile before swiftly deploying in impressive numbers around the growing crowd. Police on horses also deployed outside the stock exchange.

The new round of protests against economic inequality and the power of the top one percent of American society followed Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s decision two days earlier to send police to demolish a packed protest camp on Zuccotti Park, near Wall Street.

“We need to show we are bigger than Zuccotti Park, that we are resilient, that we refuse to submit to brutal police tactics,” said Jessica Lingel (28), a librarian from New Jersey.

Volunteers from the National Lawyers Guild passed out legal aid phone numbers to protesters and advised them to write the numbers on their arms, for use in case of arrest.

“The magic words are: I am going to remain silent and I want to speak to a lawyer,” the legal volunteer instructed protesters preparing for what could be a large number of arrests.

Previous protests by Occupy Wall Street have usually ended with dozens of arrests for blocking traffic and other minor charges.

New York Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson went on CNN early today to stress that protesters had the right to demonstrate peacefully, but acknowledged that a major protest could disrupt the morning rush hour.

“That is just New York. We will be prepared,” Wolfson told the network.

“If people break the law then obviously we’ll deal with that.”

Gerard, a 28-year-old protester who did not want to give his last name, said he thought police would not confront the demonstrators. “Now it’s broad daylight and the whole world is watching.”

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