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Occupy Wall Street Protesters Clash With Police In New York

Members of the Occupy Wall Street movement clash with New York police after being removed from Zuccotti Park in New York on November 15.

Members of the Occupy Wall Street movement clash with New York police after being removed from Zuccotti Park in New York on November 15.

At least 75 people were arrested on November 17 after hundreds of Occupy Wall Street demonstrators marched through New York City's financial district and tried to disrupt the start of the trading day at the city's Stock Exchange.

Police and protesters clashed repeatedly during the protest action, which was triggered by the surprise eviction two days ago of activists camped in tents inside nearby Zuccotti Park, where the global "Occupy" movement against economic equality and corporate greed began in September.

The march disrupted traffic as protesters filled the streets, some chanting, "All day, all week, shut down Wall Street!" Others chanted, "We are the 99''-- a reference to the economic inequality between the wealthiest 1 percent and everyone else -- and, "We aren't afraid of your nightsticks.''

Despite the melee, business went on as usual.

People who refused police orders to clear the streets were arrested, and there were widespread reports of rough treatment by the police. The Associated Press reported that "some of the police hit protesters as they resisted arrest."

Eventually, the crowd headed back to Zuccotti Park, where they are still legally allowed to gather, but not occupy overnight. By then, the crowd had swelled to more than 1,000 people. Many of those streaming into the park tossed aside the barricades that police had surrounded the plaza with to force people into a single file line. They chanted, "Whose park? Our park!"

But right behind the protesters were more police officers, some of whom continued their rough treatment of the crowd as they began making arrests inside the park. "The New York Times" reported that "officers could be seen grabbing and punching protesters and journalists."

A line of police officers in riot helmets formed a cordon along the south side of the park to secure barricades that hadn't been removed by the crowd. More columns of police, holding batons and handcuffs, filled the surrounding streets.

'Critical Moment'

A 44-year-old New York protester named Paul Knick told an AP reporter, "This is a critical moment for the movement, given what happened the other night. It seems like there's a concerted effort to stop the movement, and I'm here to make sure that doesn't happen."

The New York City protest was part of a national day of action in response to the city's November 15 pre-dawn rout of protesters occupying Zuccotti Park. But the movement has attracted like-minded supporters across the world in the two months since it began; protests have taken place across Latin America, Asia, and Europe.

In Los Angeles, about 500 sympathizers of the Occupy Wall Street protesters marched in the downtown financial district on November 17, chanting "Banks got bailed out, we got sold out." Police took two protesters into custody.

In other places across the country, cities have begun to shut down locations where the movement has taken hold. In Dallas, police evicted dozens of protesters from their campsite near City Hall, citing public safety and hygiene issues. They arrested 18 protesters who refused to leave.

Two protesters were arrested and about 20 tents removed at an encampment on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley.

Similar evictions have taken place in several U.S. cities in recent days.

The New York group announced that it would rally again near the New York Stock Exchange on November 17 before marching over the Brooklyn Bridge.

A previous attempt to march across the bridge on October 2 drew the first significant international attention to the Occupy movement, when more than 700 people were arrested.

compiled from agency reports

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