Buoyed by Wall St. Protests, Rallies Sweep the Globe
By CARA BUCKLEY and RACHEL DONADIO
At least 88 people were arrested in
Other than Rome’s, the demonstrations across Europe were largely peaceful, with thousands of people marching past ancient monuments and gathering in front of capitalist symbols like the European Central Bank in
But just as the rallies in New York have represented a variety of messages — signs have been held in opposition to President Obama yards away from signs in support of him — so did Saturday’s protests contain a grab bag of sentiments, opposing nuclear power, political corruption and the privatization of water.
Yet despite the difference in language, landscape and scale, the protests were united in frustration with the widening gap between the rich and the poor.
“I have no problem with capitalism,” Herbert Haberl, 51, said in
In New York, where the occupation of Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan was moving into its second month, a large crowd marched north early Saturday afternoon to Washington Square Park, where it was joined by several hundred college students who decried, among other things, student debt and unemployment.
In late afternoon, the crowds marched up Avenue of the
At Times Square, they convened with thousands of other protesters and caught hundreds of tourists unawares. “We thought they were going to stay down on Wall Street,” said Sandi Bernard — who is 59 and was visiting from Waldorf, Md. — while wondering if she would have trouble making the 8 p.m. curtain call for “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.”
Some tourists pumped their fists and whooped from atop double-decker sightseeing buses as the protesters cheered back. To keep
Three people were arrested trying to take down barricades, the police said. Later, as officers tried to disperse people east on 46th Street, 42 people who the police said defied their orders were taken away, in plastic handcuffs, in three police wagons. One witness, Harry Kaback, a 26-year-old comic selling tickets to the Ha! comedy club, said the protesters were “getting rowdy” with the police and shouting in their faces.
For the protesters, marching on
“Times Square represents business as usual — buy, buy, buy in this economic climate, watch the latest show,” said Elias Holtz, 29, a Web designer who lives in Bushwick, Brooklyn. “But the crisis is everywhere.”
The protest moved back to
Virtually everyone chose to leave, and it was unclear if anyone was arrested. Many headed back to
Earlier, about a dozen protesters entered a Chase branch in Lower Manhattan and withdrew their money from the bank while 300 other people circled the block, some shouting chants and beating on drums. The former Chase customers, who declined to reveal how much they had in their accounts — though a few acknowledged it was not much — said they planned to put their money into smaller banks or credit unions.
“The more resources we give to small institutions, the more they’ll be able to provide conveniences like free A.T.M.’s and streamlined online banking so they can compete with the larger banks,” said Hannah Appel, 33, a postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University.
Five people wearing masks were arrested during the march to Times Square for “loitering with masks,” said Paul J. Browne, the Police Department’s chief spokesman, an apparent reference to an old state law prohibiting masked gatherings (the law does not apply to masquerade parties).
And two dozen people were arrested at a Citibank branch on
Some witnesses said that the protesters had tried to leave but were locked inside by bank employees. “They were trying to leave, but they wouldn’t let them,” said Meaghan Linick, 23, of Greenpoint,
Citibank, in a statement, said the protesters “were very disruptive and refused to leave after being repeatedly asked, causing our staff to call 911.” The statement continued, “The police asked the branch staff to close the branch until the protesters could be removed.”
“You see how people are beholden to corporate interests no matter how hard you might have worked to get them elected,” said Kelly Mears, 24, a former software engineer. “There is a disconnect.”
Saturday’s protests sprang not only from the Occupy Wall Street movement that began last month in New York, but also from demonstrations in
Tens of thousands of protesters assembled in Madrid on Saturday evening, when chants mingled with live music, including a rendition of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy,” lending the downtown area an upbeat feel on an unusually balmy fall afternoon.
Brief clashes were reported in
The WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, made an appearance when a crowd assembled in front of
“We don’t feel represented by the government. We feel made fun of,” Alessia Tridici, 18, said in
Cara Buckley reported from New York, and Rachel Donadio from
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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs