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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Occupy takes May Day protests to US streets

Occupy protestors paint a mural on the street during a demonstration.
Occupy protestors paint a mural on the street during a demonstration.
Occupy protestors paint a mural on the street during a demonstration.

Occupy Wall Street protesters gathered outside banks, meditated in public parks and staged anti-corporate song-and-dance routines on Tuesday in a May Day bid around the United States to revive a movement that triggered nationwide protests last year against economic injustice.

Hundreds of protesters in Oakland, California, clashed with baton-carrying police who fired flash-bang grenades and used a loudspeaker to order demonstrators to disperse from an intersection, in just one of numerous demonstrations that unfolded in U.S. cities.

Police arrested small numbers of protesters in minor clashes around New York, chasing hundreds of marchers along Broadway.

Although labor unions rejected pleas from leaders of the Occupy movement for a general strike, and demonstrators backed off a pledge to occupy San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge, activists hailed the day's events as a step forward in the movement that had grown inactive and cash poor since capturing world attention last fall.

"We've been building important alliances and radicalized people in what they're willing to endorse. I mean, we never even used to celebrate May Day. Now look at this," said David Graeber, an anthropologist and author active in the movement.

May Day, also known as International Workers' Day, has long been a day on which the labor movement holds street demonstrations and marches, but less so in the United States than elsewhere around the world.

Many demonstrators wore black bandanas symbolic of an anarchist faction within the largely peaceful Occupy movement, leading to some of the confrontations with police.

About 400 New York City protesters - most of them clad in black, with black bandanas covering their faces - ran onto Broadway as police chased them on scooters. At least five were arrested.

Occupy Cleveland cancelled its events "out of respect for the city" after US authorities announced the arrest of five self-described anarchists in the Cleveland area on suspicion of plotting to blow up a four-lane highway bridge over a national park.

Occupy Cleveland said in a statement the men arrested were associated with their movement but that "they were in no way representing or acting on behalf of Occupy Cleveland" and that the group was committed to non-violent protest.

In Seattle, some 50 black-clad protesters marched through downtown, carrying black flags on sticks, which they used to shatter the windows of several stores including a Nike Town outlet and an HSBC bank before police moved them out of the area.

Inspired by the pro-democracy Arab Spring, the Wall Street protesters last year targeted US financial policies they blamed for the yawning income gap between rich and poor - between what they called the 1 percent and the 99 percent.

 

 

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Tags:  may day  occupy  san francisco  cleveland  california  us  wall street  99  





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Edition No. 5055 - This publication is a property of NEFIR S.A. -RNPI Nº 5343955 - Issn 1852 - 9224 - Te. 4349-1500 - San Juan 141 , (C1063ACY) CABA - Director Perdiodístico: Ricardo Daloia