Thursday, November 17, 2011

Occupy Protesters March to New York Financial District

Occupy protesters march to NYC financial district

From staff and wire reports

NEW YORK – A crowd of several hundred protesters marched from Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan toward the New York Stock Exchange a few blocks away on Thursday as Occupy Wall Street demonstrators across the country promised mass gatherings to mark the movement's two month anniversary.

Demonstrators in New York City and around the country are promising mass gatherings Thursday.

Lines of helmeted police blocked every approach to the financial district in New York. Several streets in area were closed.

"Whose street? Our street!" the protesters chanted.

The demonstrators said in a statement they want to "exchange stories instead of stocks" -- stories about in the income inequality and corporate malfeasance they claim is crippling the economy.

It was first event of several planned events to mark the anniversary and came two days after police dismantled the protesters camp at the park. Events planned around city include speeches and talks with commuters at subway stations.

Spokesman Bill Dobbs said Thursday "This day is about taking our ideas to every block, every street, every subway." But organizers said on the Occupy website there are no plans to disrupt subway service.

The day of action had been planned before the city and park owners cracked down on the encampment in Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan, but took on added importance to the protesters after tents, tarps and sleeping bags were cleared out early Tuesday and the granite plaza was cleaned for the first time since the group arrived more than two months ago.

"This is a critical moment for the movement given what happened the other night," said Paul Knick, 44, a software engineer from Montclair, N.J. "It seems like there's a concerted effort to stop the movement and I'm here to make sure that doesn't happen."

Transit officials were preparing to deal with the crush of people. After the rally near the New York Stock Exchange protesters planned to fan out across Manhattan and before gathering downtown and marching over the Brooklyn bridge.

Similar protests were planned around the country. New York City officials said they had not spoken to demonstrators but were aware of the plans.

"The protesters are calling for a massive event aimed at disrupting major parts of the city," Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson said. "We will be prepared for that."

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