Protest organizers acknowledged that the “day of action” could be the group’s most provocative yet, and could lead to mass arrests and further strain relations with city authorities.
“I think we’re certainly going into this with our eyes wide open, but (the march is) to provoke ideas and discussion, not to provoke any violent reactions,” said Occupy Wall Street spokesman Ed Needham.
“I think it is very difficult to do a day of action and not expect some sort of reaction from the (authorities),” he said.
According to their Web site, the day will include “Mass, Non-violent Direct Action” to “Shut Down Wall Street” at 7 a.m., “Occupy the Subways” in all five boroughs at 3 p.m. and “Take the Square,” referring to Foley Square, at 5 p.m.
“We will shut down Wall Street,” a post on the movement’s Facebook page said. “We will ring the People’s Bell, and initiate a street carnival in which we rebuild and celebrate the neighborhoods that the Wall Street economy has destroyed.”
The group promises a “a block party the 1 percent will never forget.” A spokesman for the stock exchange declined to comment.
They said they’re expecting a turnout larger than that Oct. 1, when more than 700 arrests were made on the bridge.
Organizer Senia Barragan said their goal is to “rebuild our economy, and the bridge is a quintessential symbol of that message” because infrastructure projects would create jobs.
One protester said the plan to “Occupy the Subway” is an effort to bring the OWS message to the outerboroughs.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, asked by reporters on Monday about the protesters’ plans, said: “The New York Stock exchange will open on time. People will be able to get to work, you can rest assured.”
Bloomberg reiterated his support for the protesters’ right to free speech but said he was aware that business owners — about 10 of whom rallied against the protest today at City Hall — have legitimate complaints.
“We’re not going to allow people to stop commerce and to stop people’s right to go around and express themselves. No one group has the right to protest. They all have the right to protest,” Bloomberg said.
“We’re always in contact with lots of people down there, residents, business owners, tourists. We talk to people all the time.”
Protesters set up camp in Zuccotti park in New York City’s financial district on September 17 to protest a financial system they believe mostly benefits corporations and the wealthy.
The Occupy Wall Street movement has sparked similar protests against economic inequality across the country, and in some cases have led to violent clashes with police.
Meanwhile, protesters ordered to leave Zuccotti Park as hundreds of police officers descend on encampment after two months of protests.
Police wearing helmets and carrying riot shields have began to clear Zuccotti Park in New York City’s financial district, where protesters from the Occupy Wall Street movement have been camped since September.
The office of the New York City mayor, Michael Bloomberg, said the protesters should “temporarily leave” the park and remove their tents and tarpaulins. The protesters said hundreds of police were mobilising around the park and that the eviction of the demonstrators was in progress.
Police spokesman Paul Browne said the city and the owners of the park, Brookfield Office Properties, issued fliers to the protesters saying the park would be cleared for cleaning shortly after 1am. (6am GMT).
Browne said 15 people had been arrested for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
Most people had left peacefully, but there was still a small group of people in the middle of the park refusing to leave. He said the protesters could return if they want after the park is cleared but without their tents and belongings. [via Reuters, Guardian and New York Post]