Dozens of Occupy Wall Street protesters were arrested Thursday morning as they descended on Manhattan’s financial district in an attempt to shut down Wall Street with their presence, building human barricades to try and block the entrance to the New York Stock Exchange and flooding several city blocks.
Zealous protesters got into shoving matches with NYPD officers, and at one point, police pushed through a human barricade, sending flailing demonstrators to the ground. At least 50 protesters were arrested, according to reports. Many of them had to be dragged out of piles, as swarming demonstrators tried to capture the arrests with their cell phones and video cameras, as they chanted “shame” at police, and simply asked “why?” with police and news helicopters circled above.
One man, who was linking arms with his fellow protesters at the intersection of Wall Street and Hanover Street, said he was injured after the human barricade collapsed to the ground.
“They shoved us onto the ground and started trampling us,” he said with a grimace, as his friends helped him from the ground.
The early morning protest was just the first of several demonstrations the Occupy Wall Street protesters had planned for Thursday, which is also coincides with the two-month anniversary of their movement aimed at highlighting corporate greed and economic inequity.
In celebration of the anniversary—dubbed “Day of Action”—protesters are expected to “Occupy the Subways” at 3 p.m. across the five boroughs before they descend on Foley Square at 5 p.m.
The day also has extra significance for some of the 200 protesters who were arrested early Tuesday morning when the NYPD evicted hundreds of demonstrators from their symbolic home at Zuccotti Park.
Prior to the swarm of protesters moving to the Financial District, NYPD officers, many in riot gear, set up checkpoints around the surrounding blocks leading to the New York Stock Exchange. Those trying to get to work—many unsuccessfully—had to show proof of employment along with a valid ID, just to get through the steel barricade.
Streets were temporarily closed down and traffic was halted as protesters flooded the streets. Some protesters taunted and got in the face of work-bound New Yorkers who gathered on a line outside the barricade.
“You’re going to show your ID to walk down the streets of the United States of America?” a protester dressed in a leather jacket and shirt and tie screamed to the line of people.
“Our lives have been disrupted for the last five, six years,” said Dave Korn, who was arrested and charged with trespassing and disorderly conduct on Tuesday. “In order to make a statement we need to block the daily lives of other people.”
An upstate New York man who works in the financial sector looked on in disgust at the swarm of people blocking the entrances to buildings. “I think they’re naive,” said the man who did not give his name. “I don’t even know what to call them, they’re just naive.”
He continued: “They think money is just given away, they want to tax the rich. You can take every rich person in the world’s money, and you couldn’t run this government for more than a month or two.”
A Brooklyn woman, walking nervously through the streets and trying to find a hole to escape the protest, said she tried to take a different route to work on Thursday because of the planned protest, but that plan backfired. “I’m pretty frustrated cause I’m just trying to get to work and it seems impossible.”
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