Wall Street protest enters second month, global demonstrations take place over weekend

Coordinated protests were held in cities around the world over the weekend as the Occupy Wall Street demonstration entered its second full month.   On Saturday, people gathered by the thousands and tens of thousands in cities from California to New York, to Europe and Asia in a day of coordinated protests and demonstrations held in solidarity with the ongoing Occupy Wall Street demonstration that began in downtown Manhattan just over a month ago. 

Thousands of protesters marched from the Occupy Wall Street encampment at Liberty Plaza in New York’s financial district to Times Square on Saturday evening, leading to clashes with riot police who had set up barricades along Broadway and 7th Avenue.  Dozens were arrested in the scuffles.  Over the course of the day, protesters also gathered inside and outside local branches of Citibank and Chase throughout the city, with many closing their accounts and urging others to do the same.  Many are helping prepare a mass action for November 5th, dubbed “Bank Transfer Day,” calling on patrons of corporate banks to move their money to local banks and credit unions. 

Thousands marched in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street in dozens of cities across the country on Saturday from Pennsylvania to Florida to Illinois, Colorado, Arizona and California.  Nearly 200 people were arrested in Chicago when police raided their encampment in Grant Park after protesters refused to disperse in an act of civil disobedience.  Dozens were arrested in Tucson and Phoenix, Arizona. 

Demonstrators also took to the streets in cities around the world to protest the excesses that have come to define the corporate welfare state in the age of globalization. Canadians marched in over a dozen cities from Toronto to Vancouver.  Mass actions were held in numerous European state capitals such as London, Rome and Berlin, as well as in cities throughout the Asia-Pacific region, from Sydney, Australia to Tokyo, Japan, Seoul, South Korea and Hong Kong.  

The ongoing Occupy Wall Street protest, which provided the focal point for the global demonstrations, was nearly evicted from its encampment at Liberty Plaza in New York’s financial district late last week.  The owners of the park had demanded that protesters leave the site by Friday so it could be cleaned.  Police officials stated that they would not allow demonstrators to re-occupy the site after they were cleared out.  In response, protesters spent days cleaning the site themselves and called on supporters to assemble for a pre-dawn demonstration to prevent the eviction Friday morning. 

Amazingly, thousands of New Yorkers turned out for the action, filling the park to overcapacity by 6am, and spilling out into nearby streets and plazas for much of the morning, forcing the police and the owners of the park to stand down.  “This is real people power,” said one jubilant protester just after the crowd received the news that the eviction would not take place.  “We won this round,” he continued. 

The demonstration in Times Square was billed as a victory party by protest organizers.