Occupy NY in police clashes

MORE than 170 people were arrested in New York yesterday as police quashed an attempt by protesters to shut down Wall Street.

Police set up barricades on the roads around Wall Street and pushed activists onto the pavement to stop them from blocking the route taken by staff at banks and the New York Stock Exchange. The market opened as normal after workers showed identification to get past the barriers.

Police reported seven officers were injured, including one whose hand was cut by a flying piece of glass and five who were hit in the face by a liquid believed to be vinegar.

Outside NYSE protesters from Occupy Wall Street banged drums and yelled “We are the 99 per cent”, a reference to their claim that the US political system benefits only the richest one per cent.

Hundreds of people had assembled in the early morning rain but the turnout was below the tens of thousands expected by organisers.

In London yesterday protesters defied a demand to move on by 6pm.

Activists vowed to stay and used chalk to daub slogans such as “sharing will save the world” on the land to the north of the cathedral.

Dozens of protesters held a minute’s silence before cheering and wiggling their fingers in the air as the bells of St Paul’s chimed six.

Legal proceedings designed to clear tents from the highways are set to begin today or on Monday, a spokesman for the City of London Corporation said last night.

The corporation had suspended its legal proceedings two weeks ago but on Wednesday officials attached legal notices to the tents, giving their occupants 24 hours to end a demonstration that has shaken the Church of England, the Anglican mother Church, and embarrassed senior politicians.

Lawyer John Cooper, representing the demonstrators, said he would work to ensure his clients’ interests were “fearlessly defended”.

The global Occupy movement suffered a major blow this week when police cleared the flagship camp in New York’s Zuccotti Park.

Similar semi-permanent “tent cities” in Atlanta, Portland, Salt Lake City and Oakland in California were also removed through a mixture of persuasion and police force.

But other demonstrators yesterday targeted bridges they considered in disrepair in cities such as Miami, Detroit and Boston to highlight what they said was the need for government spending on infrastructure projects to create jobs.