Occupy Wall Street movement marks anniversary with march

Occupy Wall Street protestor Chris Philips screamed as he was arrested near Zuccotti Park
Occupy Wall Street protestor Chris Philips screamed as he was arrested near Zuccotti Park AP

NEW YORK — New York City police on Monday arrested more than a hundred Occupy Wall Street protesters celebrating the movement's first birthday as events drew fewer participants than similar demonstrations in May.

Hundreds of marchers took to the streets just after dawn from Lower Manhattan's Zuccotti Park, the physical birthplace and symbolic heart of the global movement. Police on foot, motorcycle and horseback trailed them at every turn.

The protests failed to keep the markets from opening as scheduled, though some commuters in the largest U.S. city were inconvenienced as police blocked off parts of the Financial District near the New York Stock Exchange and asked transit officials to close the Broad Street subway station.

Monday's numbers contrast with Occupy Wall Street's last major public event, on May 1, which drew tens of thousands of demonstrators across the United States as protesters sang in Manhattan's Union Square, smashed windows in Seattle and seized a vacant building in San Francisco. In New York, 34 were arrested in the May Day rallies.

"I've been arrested four times now and I'll get arrested 1,000 times more until we see some change," said Barry Knight, a 44-year-old actor from Massachusetts. "We're fighting for nothing less than the future of our country. Do you want your kids to grow up in 'corptocracy' or in a democracy?"

Members of the movement are seeking to revive the energy and emotion generated when thousands took to the streets to protest income disparity, corporate greed and the influence of money on politics. Protesters say the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans benefit at the expense of the rest.

Corporate targets of Monday's disruption included the Broadway retail branches of Bank of America Corp. and JPMorgan Chase, along with Deutsche Bank, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York on Liberty Street and American International Group, according to planning materials. Events were scheduled in at least 15 other cities, including Asheville, N.C., and Hilo, Hawaii.

The Occupy anniversary marks a test of the movement after its public presence diminished amid what organizers called flagging interest bordering on burnout.

The movement's New York City General Assembly, which made decisions for the group by consensus, ceased functioning in April because of infighting, ineffectiveness and low turnout, according to organizers and minutes of meetings. The group's funds were frozen to preserve money for bail, ending most cash distributions, they said.