At least 14 people have been arrested in Lower Manhattan after police clashed with protesters as hundreds marched towards Wall Street. The incident came after demonstrators had cheered a decision allowing them to stay in Zuccotti Park.
Earlier, New York’s authorities announced that a clean-up of Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan, where Occupy Wall Street protesters have been camping for about a month, had been postponed.
Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway said the owners of the Zuccotti park had informed him on Thursday night that they had put off the clean-up which had been scheduled for 7 am EDT on Friday, AP news agency reports.
“Late last night, we received notice from the owners of Zuccotti Park, Brookfield Office Properties, that they are postponing their scheduled cleaning of the park, and for the time being withdrawing their request from earlier in the week for police assistance during their cleaning operation,” the deputy mayor’s statement said.
Mayor Cas Holloway added that Brookfield hope they can reach some agreement with protesters to ensure that the park remained clean, safe and available for public use. The official promised to further monitor the situation.
According to Brookfield, conditions in the park were “unsanitary” as there was a shortage of rubbish bins and no toilets. According to the park owner, neighbors were complaining of offensive odors from the protesters, as well as harassment and drug abuse.
However, OWS organizers warned their supporters on Facebook that that the city’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg had used the ‘cleaning-up’ tactic to disband protests before. They also said that a similar ploy was used to dissolve protests in Europe.
At about 6 am some thousand protesters gathered at the park. Many stayed up all night cleaning the area themselves.
The Occupy Wall Street protests have been ongoing in the US since mid-September, with numerous complaints of police violence being lodged. Hundreds of protesters were arrested in New York alone and dozens in solidarity rallies across the United States, including the cities of Boston, Washington DC, Chicago, Austin and San Francisco.
Most of the New York protesters who spoke to RT said they were determined to stay no matter what the police do.
The protesters also plan to converge on Times Square, a move that has given rise to fears of clashes which have tended to break out each time the occupiers leave the park, giving the police an excuse to use force.
At the same time in Denver, police have started to clear up the park near the state Capitol where the Occupy Denver movement defied a call to leave by the 11 pm Thursday deadline set by authorities.
More than two dozens of protesters who resisted the attempts of police to move them on were restrained with plastic ties and then arrested.
The operation started there in the early hours of Friday morning. Protesters chanted "Freedom does not have a curfew." The arrests were not made until after 6 am.
The Denver encampment has about 70 tents, a kitchen with free food, a library, school, worship tent, security detail and nurses’ station. Members say they are planning a march at noon on Saturday, Denverpost.com reported.
Arrests have also been reportedly made in San Diego.
Despite rumors about the forces supposedly behind the “Occupy Wall Street” movement, the protesters have helped turn a spotlight on the source of the problem in the world economy, says author and economic researcher F. William Engdahl.
He said the real source is a “handful of gigantic banks that have simply hijacked the economy and the populations of the world for their own interest.”
According to the researcher, the solution to the current crisis is for governments to “nationalize major banks and draw a fence around the problematic institutions until they can be sorted out.”
He elaborated that “to nationalize” is not necessarily a socialist concept, but a “true capitalist solution” to the failure of capitalist institutions.
Engdahl said that should the “Occupy Wall Street” movement be hijacked by anarchists, he would suspect a police or FBI provocation.
“That’s their favorite tactic, to try to discredit a peaceful and well-meaning opposition,” he claimed.
Jayel Aheram, an Iraq veteran and anti-war activist, believes the OWS movement should not fear anarchists, but rather the Democratic Party, which is trying to penetrate the movement and use it as extension of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign.
Indeed, “Occupy Wall Street” is becoming a political force against the current status quo. The illness of corporate greed has equally stricken both the right- and left-wing of American society, argued Aheram, who noted that Bernard Harcourt called OWS “political disobedience” in an article in the influential The New York Times newspaper.