Police begin evicting anti-Wall Street protesters in New York
New York police early on Tuesday sought to clear Zuccotti park in the city’s financial district, where protesters from the Occupy Wall Street movement have been camped since September, officials and protesters said.
The move came after protesters announced they were planning a massive street carnival on Thursday that would “shut down Wall Street”.
The office of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the protesters should “temporarily leave” the park and remove their tents and tarps. The protesters said hundreds of police were mobilising around the park and that the eviction of the demonstrators was in progress.
Protesters set up camp in Zuccotti park on September 17 to protest a financial system they argue mostly benefits corporations and the wealthy.
The Occupy Wall Street movement has sparked similar protests against economic inequality across the country, and in some cases have led to violent clashes with police.
Protesters hope to shut down Wall Street on Thursday—home to the New York Stock Exchange—by holding a street carnival to mark the two-month anniversary of their campaign against economic inequality.
Protest organisers acknowledged that the “day of action” could be the group’s most provocative yet, and could lead to mass arrests and further strain relations with city authorities.
“I think we’re certainly going into this with our eyes wide open, but [the march is] to provoke ideas and discussion, not to provoke any violent reactions,” said Occupy Wall Street spokesperson Ed Needham.
“I think it is very difficult to do a day of action and not expect some sort of reaction from the (authorities),” he said.
The protesters plan to march to Wall Street from their camp headquarters in a park two blocks away and then spread out across the city’s subway system to tell the stories of disenfranchised Americans. They will reconvene later on Thursday for a march across the Brooklyn Bridge.
Last month, more than 700 people were arrested during a similar march across the bridge, after some protesters sat on the pedestrian walkway and refused to move, while others strayed into car lanes.
“We will shut down Wall Street,” a post on the movement’s Facebook page said. “We will ring the People’s Bell, and initiate a street carnival in which we rebuild and celebrate the neighborhoods that the Wall Street economy has destroyed.”
The group promises a “a block party the 1% will never forget.”—Reuters