Up to 90 arrests have been made in New York as police tried to contain the largest Occupy Wall Street demonstration in the US. Thousands of demonstrators crowded into Times Square on Saturday during the ongoing city camp-out against big banks.
Protesters in New York’s Lower Manhattan, where the “Occupy Wall Street” movement began on September 17, marched to Times Square to rally at the offices of JP Morgan Chase Bank.
At Times Square the police were out in large numbers, including riot police units that were deployed to deal with New Year’s Eve-sized crowds gathered to rally against corporate greed.
Police barricaded the streets, preventing thousands of demonstrators from moving on. Peaceful demonstrators were being picked out of the crowd and dragged away at will, according to eyewitness reports. Some were arrested face down on the ground.
Watch RT's Marina Portnaya's report from New York
Police arrested up to 90 protesters. A woman was injured when mounted police attempted to push protestors on the corner of 46th and Seventh Avenue, creating panic. The woman fell on the pavement, injuring her head.
The police officers appeared very strained. Police helicopters were also at the scene, hovering above the crowd. The NYPD was overwhelmed by the unprecedented number of people out on the streets of New York. The protestors however were not provoking the police in any way.
Crowds of protesters, including entire families, chanted “shame” at law enforcement officers, who repeatedly told protesters, “if you leave now, you won’t get hurt.” The protesters, for their part, appeared determined to continue.
“It is time for people to get what they need,” a female protester told RT. “Without our hard-earned money, there is no country, there is no government.”
The “Occupy Wall Street” movement began in New York, and quickly spread across the US to Los Angeles, Denver and Washington, among other cities.
It has since gone global, with Asia joining in the demands for change. In Europe, meanwhile, hundreds of cities are taking part in the protests.
In Rome, riot police used tear gas and water cannon after violent protesters hijacked a peaceful demonstration, smashing bank windows and torching cars. Plumes of smoke were seen billowing near the Coliseum and other parts of the city.
In Britain, police in London thwarted protesters' efforts to set up camp outside the Stock Exchange. Several hundred activists heckled officers for preventing more people from joining the rally.
In Berlin, scuffles broke out outside the German parliament building when police removed demonstrators' tents and food stalls.
People have spilt their anger onto the streets, saying their governments have been taken over by big business.
Former US intelligence officer Robert David Steele says that the violence in Rome was not instigated by the protesters themselves.
“I think they were penetrated by provocateurs,” he argued. “Remember that in Italy the Red Band was actually a CIA/NATO operation to fabricate terrorism in order to push Italy toward fascism. I don’t believe that the violence is coming from the demonstrators; they are being provoked.”
Steele pointed to an incident this past week in New York, where Mayor Michael Bloomberg called off a planned eviction of the protesters from a downtown park, nominally to clean up the public site.
“By basically keeping the place cleaner and more orderly than the government itself was able to,” he said, the protesters effectively – and peacefully – outmaneuvered the government. “They cannot be violent. They must demonstrate that the governments have failed and that they are superior.”