By CHRIS HAWLEY, The Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) -- Protesters in at least four U.S. cities who were part of a growing anti-Wall Street sentiment were arrested after refusing to obey police orders to leave public areas, including 175 people in Chicago, where the arrests brought about a new phase of civil disobedience, organizers there said Sunday.
The arrests were mostly peaceful and came as somewhat of a contrast to earlier demonstrations, where protesters took care to follow laws in order to continue protesting Wall Street's role in the financial crisis and other grievances. The arrests came after a day of protests in cities around the world where thousands gathered to rally against what they see as corporate greed.
Most of those marches Saturday were largely nonconfrontational, though dozens were arrested in New York and elsewhere not for refusing to obey orders but when police moved to contain overflowing crowds or keep them off private property. Two officers in New York were injured and had to be hospitalized.
At least one protest overseas grew violent. In Rome, rioters hijacked what had been a peaceful gathering and smashed windows, tore up sidewalks and torched vehicles. Repair costs were estimated at $1.4 million, the mayor said Sunday.
In addition to the arrests in Chicago, 46 people in Phoenix were arrested for misdemeanor criminal trespass after refusing to leave a park, Phoenix police spokesman Sgt. Trent Crump said. And police said some protesters were arrested after they remained in a Tucson, Ariz., park past the 10:30 p.m. closing time. An exact number wasn't available Sunday.
At least two dozen people were arrested at a rally that attracted hundreds to downtown Denver for refusing to move out of the street, police said.
In Chicago, about 500 people had set up camp at the entrance to Grant Park on Saturday evening after a protest earlier in the day involving about 2,000. Police said they gave protesters repeated warnings after the park closed at 11 p.m. and began making arrests when they refused to leave.
Officers also asked protesters to take down their tents before beginning to cut them down to clear the area, police said. Protesters were release Sunday and face court dates.
The decision to stay in the park "was very much a choice and calculated," said Randy Powell, a 27-year-old student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago who was arrested. "I feel like I had to."
The tactic to occupy a city park has been used in other places with city officials often working to accommodate them. For example, protesters in Iowa reached a deal with Des Moines' mayor to move from the state Capitol to a city park, avoiding arrests. Plans to temporarily evict New York protesters from a park so the grounds could be power-washed were postponed at the request of political leaders Friday.
But Chicago protesters said they've come up short. Some organizers said conversations with city officials weren't encouraging, but they also have yet to apply for permits. A message left Sunday for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office wasn't immediately returned.
And in Minneapolis, sheriff's deputies tore down makeshift tents at a county government plaza but made no arrests, Minnesota Public Radio reported. Though the protesters are allowed to stay on the plaza all night, tents are banned.
In New York, two dozen were arrested when demonstrators entered a Citibank branch and refused to leave, police said. They asked the branch to close until the protesters could be taken away.
Earlier, as many as 1,000 demonstrators also paraded to a Chase bank branch, banging drums, blowing horns and carrying signs decrying corporate greed. A few went inside the bank to close their accounts, but the group didn't stop other customers from getting inside or seek to blockade the business.
Lily Paulina of Brooklyn said she was taking her money out because she was upset that JPMorgan Chase was making billions of dollars, while its customers struggled with bank fees and home foreclosures.
"Chase bank is making tons of money off of everyone ... while people in the working class are fighting just to keep a living wage in their neighborhood," the 29-year-old United Auto Workers organizer said.
Police told the marchers to stay on the sidewalk, and the demonstration seemed fairly orderly as it wound through downtown streets.
The day culminated in an event in the city's Times Square, where thousands of demonstrators mixed with gawkers, Broadway showgoers, tourists and police to create a chaotic scene in the midst of Manhattan.
"Banks got bailed out, we got sold out!" protesters chanted from within police barricades. Police, some in riot gear and mounted on horses, tried to push them out of the square and onto the sidewalks in an attempt to funnel the crowds away.
Throughout the country - from several dozen people in Jackson, Miss., to some 2,000 each in Pittsburgh and Chicago - the protest gained momentum.
Nearly 1,500 gathered for a march past banks in downtown Orlando, Fla. Hundreds marched on a Key Bank branch in Anchorage and declared it should be foreclosed. In Arizona, reporters and protesters saw an estimated 40 people detained around midnight at a park in Phoenix.
In Colorado, about 1,000 people rallied in downtown Denver to support Occupy Wall Street and at least two dozen were arrested.
Rallies drew young and old, laborers and retirees. In Pittsburgh, marchers included parents with children in strollers. The peaceful crowd stretched for two or three blocks.
"I see our members losing jobs. People are angry," said Janet Hill, 49, who works for the United Steelworkers, which she said hosted a sign-making event before the march.
Retired teacher Albert Siemsen said at a demonstration in Milwaukee that he'd grown angry watching school funding get cut at the same time banks and corporations gained more influence in government. The 81-year-old wants to see tighter Wall Street regulation.
Around him, protesters held signs reading: "Keep your corporate hands off my government," and "Mr. Obama, Tear Down That Wall Street."
In Canada, demonstrators gathered in cities across the country, and overseas, tens of thousands nicknamed "the indignant" marched in cities across Europe, as the protests that began in New York linked up with long-running demonstrations against government cost-cutting and failed financial policies in Europe. Protesters also turned out in Australia and Asia.
Associated Press writers Sophia Tareen in Chicago, Bob Seavey in Phoenix, Kevin Begos in Pittsburgh, Dinesh Ramde in Milwaukee, Charmaine Noronha in Toronto, Jack Elliott Jr. in Jackson, Miss., and Colleen Long, David B. Caruso and AP Radio correspondent Martin Di Caro in New York contributed to this report.
Latest Updates On HuffPost's Live Blog:
Via HuffPost Miami:
When an Occupy Miami member offered evicted protestors vacant apartments in a building he owns in Downtown Miami's Overtown neighborhood, it seemed like the perfect solution: the 'Peace City' space would provide headquarters for the movement and shelter a small faction of the group's most vulnerable members. But it hasn't gone well. Other tenants say the building has become a cesspool of drug use and violence while non-resident Occupy Miami members are trying to distance themselves from the 'radicals' -- all while the two factions are wrestling for control over Occupy Miami's social media sites and future plans.
The feud between the Overtown occupiers and more mainstream members has only gotten worse. The two factions are now battling for control of Occupy Miami's social media sites. The movement's main Twitter account recently announced it had been "hijacked by a small, non-consensus group of radical members." The Occupy Miami Facebook page was also temporarily hacked by someone inside Peace City. Meanwhile, the Overtown occupation is slowly driving away more moderate members.
"This is a black eye on the Occupy movement," says Shannon Reaze, an Overtown community organizer and Occupy Miami supporter who is now helping tenants move out of Paz's building. "The violence and drugs going on here are way outside of what I thought Occupy stood for. This place is destabilized."
...The supposedly hard-core activists here spend their days drinking and getting high. And as Peace City devolves into lawlessness, the most committed occupiers are leaving. Local landowners and politicians want the place shut down, while cops are suspicious. Yet as long as Paz wants the protesters around, nothing short of a demolition order can keep them out.
Via HuffPost DC:
WASHINGTON -- Occupy DC has a new lawsuit involving tents on its hands. But it doesn't involve temporary structures in McPherson Square.
Two protesters arrested during a February action outside Merrill Lynch's offices on 15th Street NW near McPherson Square have filed suit against the Metropolitan Police Department, Legal Times reports. (Read the complaint here.)
The plaintiffs, Samuel Dukore and Kelly Canavan, were part of a "targeted occupation" of Merrill Lynch on Feb. 13 where protesters were raising awareness about Merrill Lynch's reportedly close ties with Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.). Issa, for his part, claims that the reports of these close ties are "wildly inaccurate."
Full story here.
OWS reports via its website:
After the brutal attack on the attempted re-occupation of Liberty Square by NYPD on the 6-month anniversary of #OWS, a number of Occupiers have relocated their base of occupation to Union Square in midtown Manhattan, a point of convergence for several #OWS protests over the past 6 months.
According to reports on the ground, several dozen people slept in the park after the illegal and violent raid on Liberty Square. Over 70 people remain, now on Day 3. Although tents and tables are still banned, Occupiers have brought blankets and sleeping gear. Many are calling it ¨the new Occupation.¨ In addition to holding General Assemblies, Union Square Occupiers are providing vital jail support for those arrested on #M17 as they are released from NYPD custody. So far, the NYPD has made no attempt to remove Occupiers or prevent them from sleeping in the park.
Occupy Long Beach is defending the mother's home. For more information, click here.
Cecily McMillan, an Occupy Wall Street activist once profiled in Rolling Stone, suffered a seizure Saturday night during protest action near Zuccotti Park. Many on-scene reported Ms. McMillan had trouble breathing after she was tackled and handcuffed by law enforcement.
A video uploaded to Youtube late Saturday night purports to show the attack. Two women can be heard commenting, “There’s Cecily,” then there is confusion as the police clearly perform a violent take-down on someone in the crowd.
According to Jeff Sharlet’s November, 2011 article about the Occupy Movement, this may be Ms. McMillan’s second violent encounter with police.
To read the full story, go here.
Cops caught on video about 10 seconds in taking down the woman who had the apparent seizure:
Watch video from inside Zuccotti Park as police moved in late last night:
- Show quoted text -
The paper reports from last night's chaos at Zuccotti Park:
At one point, a woman who appeared to be suffering from seizures flopped on the ground in handcuffs as bystanders shouted for the police to remove the cuffs and provide medical attention. For several minutes the woman lay on the ground as onlookers made increasingly agonized demands until an ambulance arrived and the woman was placed inside.
By 12:20 a.m., a line of officers pushed against some of the remaining protesters, forcing them south on Broadway, at times swinging batons and shoving people to the ground.
Kobi Skolnick, 30, said that officers pushed him in several directions and that as he tried to walk away, he was struck from behind in the neck. “One of the police ran and hit me with a baton,” he said.
To read the full story, go here.
|@ Greg_Palast : Our photographer ZD Roberts beaten @OWS Zucotti Park by cops. Thrown to ground, hair grabbd, hit with clubs while yelling, I'M PRESS PRESS!|
|@ macfathom : Doubling east on Barclay, and now the ragged front of the march is at City Hall. #OWS|
|@ LuddoftheFuture : girl in the street having a seizure and the cops have her in handcuffs. can this get any worse (live at http://t.co/4pLyy3gP)|
Activists cry out for paramedics. The woman is limp on the ground. "Come on you violent bastards where's the paramedics?"
|@ jeffrae : March is heading north up broadway #ows #occupywallstreet|
|@ macfathom : Dozens of arrests, many cuffed and sitting on broadway waiting for their ride to jail. #OWS|
|@ RDevro : Police are barricading the park. It's cleared. I witnessed countless violent arrests. No way to estimate numbers.|
Cops pulling apart human chains. There are shouts for mic checks. Now, chants start forming. "The NYPD are sweeping through," says Tim on the live stream.
|@ ANIMALNewYork : NYPD just made an announcement that Brookfield has to "clean the park" and Liberty Plaza is officially "closed."|
|@ OccupyWallStNYC : Bagpipers just started marching into the park bringing the party mood with them, NYPD arrested one of them, and things got real heated. #OWS|
|@ JackieHRye : NYPD just "destroyed" the tent in Zuccotti Park, Occupiers call for its re-building. Marching band also going through the park. #OWS|
|@ RDevro : The tent in the middle of the park continues to fill with people planning to stay the night. Lots of energy here.|
Activists ask for more room as the tent is growing, expanding.
"It looks like a floating tent." -- as Tim on his live stream.
|@ OccupyWallStNYC : .@justawall is leading us in a song! "Hit the road, banks! And don't ya come back no more no more no more no more!" #OWS|
Activists have assembled make-shift, cardboard sleeping areas inside Zuccotti Park. The cardboard is joined by a large green tarp.