Tags: occupy | wall | street | protest

Occupy's May Day Protests Get Slow, Soggy Start in NYC

Tuesday, 01 May 2012 10:19 AM

 

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Occupy Wall Street's call for a general strike to mark International Workers Day got off to a slow start on Tuesday, with sparse gatherings at a handful of spots around a rainy New York City.

At Bryant Park in midtown Manhattan, about 100 activists gathered where the group had promised a "pop-up encampment" emblematic of the movement's early days in lower Manhattan's Zuccotti Park near the Wall Street financial district.

The crowd soon dispersed to other locations to demonstrate, including directly across the street from Bryant Park at the Bank of America tower. About two dozen activists picketed in front of the building's main entrance. One person was arrested in the middle of 6th Avenue in front of the building.

The group said it expected greater participation in events planned for later in the day as it tries to breathe fresh life into the movement that sparked a wave of nationwide protests against economic injustice eight months ago.

Other actions included a march with organized labor starting from New York City's Union Square in the afternoon and a promise to "occupy" San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge. In Washington, D.C., there were plans to march to the White House.

A text message alert broadcast late Monday from an Occupy Wall Street address said: "All civilians stand by for GENERAL STRIKE at 08:00. No Work, School, or Shopping. All out in the streets!"

In California, Occupy Oakland has called for protesters to "occupy" the Golden Gate Bridge in a show of solidarity with bridge workers engaged in a contract dispute over wages and benefits.

Police in New York declined to say if any unusual security precautions were planned but the city's financial community was making preparations. At the Deutsche Bank building in lower Manhattan, the atrium used for much of the winter as an Occupy meeting spot was closed to the public on Tuesday.

Shortly after the New York Stock Exchange opened on Tuesday there were no reports of problems.

 

TARGET: US FINANCIAL POLICIES

Inspired by the pro-democracy Arab Spring, the Wall Street protesters last year targeted U.S. financial policies they blamed for the yawning income gap between rich and poor - between what they called the 1 percent and the 99 percent.

"We have to show the 1 percent what democracy looks like," said Joycelyn Gill-Campbell, an outreach coordinator with Domestic Workers United. "The domestic workers take care of their children, their homes, and they're treated like less than human beings."

It was unclear whether the event would feed a resurgence of Occupy after a winter hiatus.

In New York, the Occupy movement lost significant momentum in November when a pre-dawn sweep broke up the encampment at Zuccotti Park. Occupy protests in Oakland, California, in January led to police firing tear gas into crowds of protesters and more than 200 people were arrested.

Since last fall, when scores of demonstrators set up a vigil in lower Manhattan's Zuccotti Park and Occupy boasted it had $500,000 in the bank, donations have slowed to a point where Occupy was left in a cash crunch earlier this year.

In recent weeks, small groups of New York protesters have taken to camping out in different locations, including across the street from the New York Stock Exchange.

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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