Unions Jumping Aboard As Organized Movement Gaining Momentum Daily

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Protesters marched to One Police Plaza in the middle of the Friday afternoon rush, but avoided any major confrontation with the NYPD.

1010 WINS’ Al Jones Speaks With Protesters

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Thousands sat in St. Andrew’s Square after marching as part of the group “Occupy Wall Street” from Zuccotti Park to protest an officer’s action against activists last weekend, 1010 WINS’ Al Jones reported.

And they said they have plenty to be upset about.

“As far as we can see the vast majority of protesters are not provoking violence but they’re being responded to with violence and that’s not right,” protester Leia Doran told CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis.

Photo Gallery: Wall Street Protests

WCBS 880’s Monica Miller reported that a number protesters were able to get near the police headquarters area.  She reported that “people were just screaming with elation” in what they considered to be a “huge victory.”

WCBS 880’s Monica Miller Reports

The group has been camped out at Zuccotti Park and marching around the Financial District for two weeks, speaking out against what they say is corporate greed.

“I am tired of seeing the banks, after being given billions in taxpayer dollars, not creating … going out and creating jobs,” protester Luther Green said.

Late Friday afternoon the group headed to One Police Plaza in Lower Manhattan, saying they were fighting against “police brutality and harassment,” specifically an incident last Saturday in which a deputy police inspector used pepper spray against some protesters.

“Police brutality in New York is a little crazy right now — those girls got maced last week. That’s part of the reason that I came out today,” one man told 1010 WINS’ Jones.

“There’s a lot of people who try to hijack the message, a lot of people who try to say that we don’t have a message, but anybody who walks by gets it. You know?  People understand what we’re about,” another man said.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg also added his voice to the protest discussion Friday.

“People have a right to protest, but we also have to make sure that people who don’t want to protest can go down the streets unmolested.  We have to make sure that while you have a right to say what you want to say, people who want to say something very different have a right to say that as well,” Bloomberg said.

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Bloomberg also remarked that protesters were targeting the wrong people and that Wall Street should not be their target.

(credit: Monica Miller, WCBS 880)

“Protesters are protesting against people who make 40 or 50 thousand dollars a year and are struggling to make ends meet — that’s the bottom line.  Those are the people that work on Wall Street [and] are in the finance sector,” the mayor said.

Earlier in the week, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly declined to say whether he believed the conduct was justified, but called the protesters’ behavior leading up to the incident “tumultuous.”

“We have not interfered with them even when they’re marching on the sidewalk in significant numbers — we’ve allowed them to do that,” Kelly said Wednesday.

The Civilian Complaint Review Board is now investigating the actions of that deputy police inspector and the claims of a 25-year-old woman and others regarding the incident.

On its website, the group said that “we condemn the actions of unprofessional police who used excessive force in subduing a peaceful march.”

“Abuse of power is abuse of power. Whether perpetrated by Wall Street bankers or members of the NYPD, it is the duty of all citizens to oppose injustice,” the group said.

Now in its second week, the protest is gaining momentum, reports CBS 2’s Dennis. The Transit Workers Union joined the cause Friday, chanting “tax the rich, not the poor.”

One man, with a dollar bill over his mouth, said he and other workers are slaves to their paychecks.

“I remember America the way it used to be, when there was opportunity, when you could come out and get a job, when you could save and plan, and buy a house, a home,” said Kathy Banks of Battery Park.

And until they get some answers to their issues, protesters said they’ll keep exercising their First Amendment right.

“We all come together for 9/11, but we’ve got to come together more besides 9/11. We have to come together and unite,” added Jennie Little of Jersey City.

Even more unions are expected to join the protests as the days go by, including the United Auto Workers and several teachers unions.

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