Occupy Wall Street protesters clash with police

Occupy Wall Street activists on Thursday clashed with workers and police outside the New York Stock Exchange on the movement’s two-month anniversary, in a brazen manifestation of their symbolic anti-capitalist push.

As hundreds linked hands to block access to the NYSE building, one man in a blue business suit wrestled with a protester in a cowboy hat, one of several violent scuffles. About 25 people were arrested, an Agence France-Presse correspondent saw.

Chanting “Wall Street’s closed!” “We are the 99%” and “Whose street? Our street!” about 1 000 demonstrators engaged in a tense face-off with hundreds of police, including many on horseback outside the iconic exchange.

The protests were part of a “Global Day of Action” announced by the website occupywallst.org, with demonstrations across the US combined with protests in Belgium, Germany, Italy, Nigeria, Poland and Spain.

Camps torn down
In London, protesters were waiting nervously as a deadline to leave their camp outside St Paul’s Cathedral by 6pm GMT neared.

The level of participation in the rallies could provide a clear indication of Occupy Wall Street’s clout exactly two months since the movement sprang up to denounce big corporate business and the world’s wealthiest “1%”.

The day of protest also came after New York police earlier this week cleared out the cradle of the movement, a tent camp erected in Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park on September 17.

Security forces have also torn down protest camps in several US cities including Oakland, Portland and Dallas, and the Occupy movement finds itself with less space to occupy and its future in doubt.

Vengeance
In New York, protesters vowed to avenge their eviction by marching on the stock exchange, then rallying on the city’s subway and major bridges.

While the stock market opened on time at 2:30pm GMT, protesters managed a 45-minute blockade outside the NYSE. Police eventually intervened to break through, establishing a corridor to escort Wall Street traders and workers.

“You want a fight?” a police officer yelled at the crowd.

Amid chaotic scenes, police then moved in to clear the street and ensuing clashes sent police and protesters clattering to the ground. Several protesters were handcuffed and dragged into police trucks.

Others were corralled by barricades and police in a tense standoff near Zuccotti Park, where New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered the demolition of the protest camp that had become the symbolic heart of the movement against economic inequality.

‘Brutal tactics’
“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.

The New York protesters were urged to also meet at underground rail hubs “and take our own stories to the trains.” A rally on a major square near police headquarters and various courthouses was scheduled for later, followed by a march across bridges, likely meaning the nearby Brooklyn Bridge.

By mid-morning the group was already claiming victory and at least one exasperated New York cop seemed to agree.

“They’ve blocked everything off. This is what happens when you kick them out of the park: you stir a hornet’s nest,” said the officer who would not provide his name.

Authorities “should have left them in the park. They wanted to disrupt Wall Street, and they’ve done it.”

Unclear numbers
New York Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson went on CNN on Thursday to stress the protesters have the right to demonstrate peacefully but warned the city will not tolerate masses of people blocking Brooklyn Bridge traffic.

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

It was not immediately clear how many people would participate in rallies planned in other US and foreign cities that have embraced the OWS cause, including places such as Atlanta, Detroit, Portland and the capital, Washington.

According to www.occupywallst.org, Spanish university students in a dozen cities will go on strike and a demonstration was planned in Madrid, where the “indignant” protests were a precursor of the “occupy” movement.

Tear gas
Greek police fired tear gas against black-clad youths protesting against austerity, one day after a national unity government took office charged with imposing painful tax rises and spending cuts to save Greece from bankruptcy.

More than 30 000 people marched past shuttered shops in central Athens beating drums, waving red flags and chanting “EU, IMF out!” in the first public test for technocrat Prime Minister Lucas Papademos and his quarrelsome, three-party coalition.

The annual November 17 march commemorates a bloody student uprising against Greece’s military junta in 1973 but often becomes a focal point for anti-government protesters.

Unions have said they would use this year’s rally to send a warning to Papademos, a former vice-president of the European Central Bank with no political experience, to reverse policies they say have sent Greece into a “death spiral”.

“They have cut my pension twice. This man Papademos is worse than the previous leader. He is a banker. If he dares to take any more austerity measures, we will throw them out,” said pensioner Xeni Kolen (64). Reuters, AFP

Staff Reporter
Guest Author
Advertisting

Isabel dos Santos did not loot Angola alone

Once again, Western auditing and consulting firms shamelessly facilitated corruption on an international scale

R1.1-billion land claim ‘captured’

This story was produced in partnership with Pulitzer Center. Details of the land claim settlement for MalaMala, one...

Lekwa municipality won’t answer questions about why children died in...

Three children are dead. More than a dozen homes have been gutted by fires in the past six months. And, as...

Failure to investigate TRC cases during the Mandela era delayed...

Counsel for late trade unionist Neil Aggett’s family decries the slow pace of instituting an inquest into his death
Advertising

Press Releases

Upskill yourself to land your dream job in 2020

If you received admission to an IIE Higher Certificate qualification, once you have graduated, you can articulate to an IIE Diploma and then IIE Bachelor's degree at IIE Rosebank College.

South Africans unsure of what to expect in 2020

Almost half (49%) of South Africans, 15 years and older, agree or strongly agree that they view 2020 with optimism.

KZN teacher educators jet off to Columbia University

A group of academics were selected as participants of the programme focused on PhD completion, mobility, supervision capacity development and the generation of high-impact research.

New-style star accretion bursts dazzle astronomers

Associate Professor James O Chibueze and Dr SP van den Heever are part of an international team of astronomers studying the G358-MM1 high-mass protostar.

2020 risk outlook: Use GRC to build resilience

GRC activities can be used profitably to develop an integrated risk picture and response, says ContinuitySA.

MTN voted best mobile network

An independent report found MTN to be the best mobile network in SA in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Is your tertiary institution is accredited?

Rosebank College is an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education, which is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training.

Is your tertiary institution accredited?

Rosebank College is an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education, which is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training.