Tensions are rising in the ongoing standoff between the New York Police Department and “Occupy Wall Street” protesters who have rallied growing numbers of people.
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 are out in large numbers, including riot police units that have been deployed to deal with New Year’s Eve-sized crowds gathered to rally against corporate greed.
Police have barricaded the streets, preventing thousands of demonstrators from moving on. Peaceful demonstrators are being picked out of the crowd and dragged away at will, according to eyewitness reports. Some have been arrested face down on the ground.
Watch RT’s Lucy Kafanov’s report from Times Square
Police already arrested 71 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, and tensions are rising. Police helicopters are also at the scene, hovering above the crowd. It appears that the NYPD is overwhelmed by the unprecedented number of people out on the streets of New York. It must be noted that so far the protestors are behaving peacefully and are 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, appear determined to continue.
“It is time for people to get what they need,” a woman 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.