Dozens Of Arrests As Protestors Re-Occupy Zuccotti Park To Kick-Off Spring Offensive
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – As spring approaches, Occupy Wall Street protesters who mostly hibernated all winter are beginning to stir with plans for renewed demonstrations six months after the movement was born.
The Occupy movement is officially marking its six month anniversary with rally in Zuccotti Park and around Wall Street on Saturday.
Some chanted “Whose park? Our park” and one demonstrator carried a sign that said “Regulate, regulate, regulate.”
But with huge festivities going on uptown for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, turn out was small. About 200 people were with the march when it left the park and headed down Broadway.
Nevertheless, protesters say they’re not going away.
“I think it’s just amazing in six months what we’ve accomplished,” said one demonstrator. “When I read the newspaper, Occupy is longer a carnival sideshow. If you read the business page or the political pages, Occupy Wall Street is mentioned as a force.”
After a series of afternoon marches through the financial district protestors gathered at Zuccotti park. By 11 p.m. there were nearly 300 people re-occupying the park.
A spokesman for the movement claimed that the re-occupation was part of a spring offensive.
“This is our spring offensive. People think the Occupy movement has gone away. It’s important for people to see we’re back,” said Michael Premo.
Police moved in when protestors began to set up tents. The police advance prompted protestors to sit on the ground and refuse to leave. The end result was dozens of arrests.
Occupier Cari Machet called the arrests an attempt to shut down the demonstration. “They came in to shut it down, they told us we had to leave because the park was closed.”
It took police 20 minutes to clear the park, it was empty by midnight.
The movement has lost steam in recent months, with media attention and donations dropping off as Occupy encampments across the country were dismantled, some by force.
Earlier this month, Occupy said it had just $119,000 left in its bank account, which is enough for about two weeks of operations.
Organizers are hoping donations will start to flow in as protests begin anew this spring, including a global day of “economic disruption” on May 1.
On Wednesday, several hundred Occupy protesters demonstrated outside the Waldorf-Astoria where Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was attending a fundraiser.
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