NEW YORK — Two days after the encampment that sparked the global Occupy movement was cleared by authorities, demonstrators blocked traffic into New York’s financial district on Thursday and promised mass gatherings in other cities.
Hundreds of protesters clogged the streets leading to Wall Street in lower Manhattan, bringing taxis and delivery vehicles to a halt. Police in riot helmets watched the protesters from behind barricades.
“All day, all week, shut down Wall Street!” the crowd chanted. At the corner of Nassau and Pine streets protesters were sitting on the ground and refusing to move.
The protest remained peaceful, and the demonstrators and police were still allowing workers to get to their offices.
The day of action had been planned before the city and park owners cracked down on the encampment in Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan, but took on added importance to the protesters after tents, tarps and sleeping bags were cleared out early Tuesday and the granite plaza was cleaned for the first time since the group arrived.
“This is a critical moment for the movement given what happened the other night,” said Paul Knick, 44, a software engineer from Montclair, N.J. “It seems like there’s a concerted effort to stop the movement and I’m here to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
OCCUPY DALLAS EVICTED
Occupy Dallas protesters were evicted early Thursday morning after the demonstration at a campsite near City Hall reached a “tipping point” that included an offsite dispute between two participants, escalating offenses and unsanitary conditions, Dallas police Chief David Brown said.
Brown said police arrested 18 people for violating the city ordinance against people sleeping or being on public property from midnight to 5 a.m. He said that police gave protesters about 90 minutes to clear out before officers made arrests.
The city last week accused protesters of violating an agreement to allow the campsite near Dallas City Hall by putting up semi-permanent structures and signs, using City Hall restrooms and not properly collecting trash.
A federal judge on Tuesday refused to issue an order that would have blocked removal of the campsite, but Jonathan Winocour, who represents some of the protesters, had said Wednesday that they’d reached an agreement with the city that they could stay four more weeks as long as they obeyed the law.
Brown though said Thursday that the situation “just became untenable.”
Demonstrator Michael Curtis, 58, of Dallas, said he was sleeping at the campsite last night when he got word that the police were clearing it out and he left the site.
“They could have said ‘Thursday, be out by 9 a.m.,’” he said.
OCCUPY LONDON FARING WELL
Protesters camped outside St. Paul’s Cathedral in London said Thursday they are staying put as a deadline passed for them to take down their tents or face legal action.
London officials attached eviction notices to the tents Wednesday, demanding they be removed from the churchyard by 6:00 p.m. Thursday.
The Occupy London group said no one had left by the deadline, and marked its passing with a rally and a minute of silence outside the cathedral.
“The general feeling is excitement at the moment,” said protester Nathan Cravens, 27. “It’s brought us together.”
The City of London Corporation says that if the tents are not removed it will go to court seeking an eviction notice. The first hearing will likely be next week, but the process could take months.
—Compiled from Associated Press reports
Published on Friday, November 18, 2011 as: Occupiers take on exchange