At May Day Demonstrations, Traffic Jams and Arrests

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Police officers and protesters at Houston and Chrystie Streets in Lower Manhattan. Photo Credit by Ivan Pereira

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Published: May 1, 2012

Thousands of protesters converged on Lower Manhattan on Tuesday afternoon in the culmination of May Day demonstrations organized by the Occupy Wall Street movement, resulting in occasionally bloody clashes and the arrests of more than 30 demonstrators.

All the arrests were on disorderly conduct charges, and most were of people who were blocking traffic or resisting arrest, said Paul J. Browne, the chief spokesman for the Police Department. Protesters were arrested near Bryant Park in Midtown, on the Williamsburg Bridge, at a park on the Lower East Side and near Washington Square Park.

In other cities, including Los Angeles and Seattle, demonstrators snarled traffic and smashed windows. Protesters in Oakland, Calif., clashed with officers in riot gear, who fired tear gas. May Day protests were also held around the world, with large crowds marching in Manila and Tunis.

The number of arrests in New York was the most since the weekend of March 17, when 73 protesters were held.

The themes on May Day were the ones that Occupy Wall Street has sounded from the outset of the movement last fall — opposition to big banks and the government that bailed them out after they helped cause the recession.

“I just watched the whole economy becoming devastating, and no one wants to hire me,” Kezia Snyder, 59, a freelance chef who lives in Chelsea, said at a rally in Union Square.

Protesters began the morning in the rain in Midtown, picketing and chanting in front of banks, corporate headquarters and a restaurant that is the subject of a class-action lawsuit. About four people were arrested near Bryant Park, Mr. Browne said.

Then the protests moved downtown. Outside Sara D. Roosevelt Park on the Lower East Side, officers pushed back a throng of protesters as they tried to cross a street.

Near Washington Square Park, demonstrators carrying a banner that read “On Strike” disregarded police warnings to stay on the sidewalk and stepped onto Avenue of the Americas. Several officers tackled and arrested them.

One man who was led away in cuffs had a bloody face.

As the sun began to set, thousands of people left Union Square and began slowly marching south toward the financial district. At one point, the marchers filled most of Broadway between Houston and Worth Streets. About 9 p.m., a large crowd gathered near theVietnam Veterans Memorial Plaza, and later moved toward Hanover Square.

Reporting was contributed by Daniel Krieger, Ivan Pereira and Jennifer Preston from New York, and Malia Wollan from Oakland, Calif.

A version of this article appeared in print on May 2, 2012, on page A20 of the New York edition with the headline: At May Day Demonstrations, Traffic Jams and Arrests.

 

 

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