NY police arrest 177 in clashes with protestors trying to shut down Wall Street
New York police prevented protesters from shutting down Wall Street, arresting at least 177 people in repeated clashes with an Occupy Wall Street rally that grew to several thousand strong.
Occupy Wall Street protesters on Thursday took to the streets in rainy New York and elsewhere in the United States for a day of action seen as a test of the momentum of the two-month-old grassroots movement against economic inequality.
Demonstrators targeted bridges they considered in disrepair in cities such as Miami, Detroit and Boston to highlight what they said was the need for government spending on infrastructure projects to create jobs.
In the biggest New York protest since a police raid broke up the protesters' encampment in a park near Wall Street on Tuesday, organizers and city officials had expected tens of thousands to turn out.
A crowd that disappointed organizers throughout the day grew to several thousand after the standard workday ended and labour union activists joined a march across the Brooklyn Bridge, where last month more than 700 people were arrested during a similar march.
If you look at the crowds today, they are getting larger and more diverse. It's wonderful when you see the unions get involved. It truly shows this movement represents people from all different walks of life, said Terri Nilliasca, 38, a United Auto Workers member from New York.
Many protesters complained of police brutality, pointing to one media image of man whose face was bloodied during his arrest and another of a woman who was dragged across the sidewalk by an officer.
Police reported seven officers were injured, including one whose hand was cut by a flying piece of glass and five who were hit in the face by a liquid believed to be vinegar.
Police barricaded the narrow streets around Wall Street, home to the New York Stock Exchange, and used batons to push protesters onto the sidewalk as they marched through the area to try and prevent financial workers getting to their desks.
Workers were allowed past barricades with identification and the New York Stock Exchange opened on time and operated normally.
Protesters banged drums and yelled We are the 99 percent -- referring to their contention that the US political system benefits only the richest 1 percent.
At the Union Square subway stop, one of the busiest in the city, protesters tried to crowd the entrance but police repeatedly moved them against the walls to make way for subway riders.