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2011-11-17

Occupy Wall Street’s National Day of Action Launches with Protest at NY Stock Exchange

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Today is a national day of action to mark the start of the third month of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Here in New York, organizers have been distributing posters reading "Shut Down Wall Street! Occupy the Subways! Take the Square!" As we broadcast protesters marched in various parts of the Financial District in an attempt to block the New York Stock Exchange from opening at 9:30 a.m. Labor organizers are planning protests at dozens of bridges across the country today as part of a campaign to highlight the need for increased spending on the nation’s infrastructure. In Portland, protesters are planning to occupy the Steel Bridge. In Seattle, an action will target the Montlake Bridge. In Washington, D.C., protesters will march on the Key Bridge. In New York, a 5 p.m. action is set at the Brooklyn Bridge. The protests come just two days after New York police raided Occupy Wall Street at Liberty Plaza and destroyed the encampment. Protesters have been allowed to return to the park, but without sleeping bags, tents or musical instruments. Democracy Now!'s Ryan Devereaux reports live from Wall Street, where protesters, with help from New York police, blockaded all streets leading to the Stock Exchange. "The plan is for sort of a three-pronged blitz on the Financial District, marches coming from all different directions, and trying to basically swarm the area with people," Devereaux says. "The NYPD's response has been equally robust. There are police vehicles, officers and barricades on every single street." [includes rush transcript]

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

JUAN GONZALEZ: A national day of action is being held today to mark the start of the third month of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Here in New York City, organizers have been distributing posters reading "Shut Down Wall Street! Occupy the Subways! Take the Square!"
As we speak, protesters are marching in various parts of the Financial District in an attempt to block the New York Stock Exchange from opening at 9:30.

Labor organizers are planning protests at dozens of bridges across the country today as part of a campaign to highlight the need for increased spending on the nation’s infrastructure. In [Portland], protesters are planning to occupy the Steel Bridge. In [Seattle], an action will target the Montlake Bridge. In Washington, D.C., protesters will march on the Key Bridge. And here in New York at 5:00 p.m., an action is set at the Brooklyn Bridge.

The protests come just two days after New York police raided the Occupy Wall Street at Liberty Plaza and destroyed the encampment. Protesters have been allowed to return to the park, but without sleeping bags, tents or musical instruments.

AMY GOODMAN: For the latest on the protest taking place at Wall Street, we are joined right now by Democracy Now!’s Ryan Devereaux on the phone. He is just two blocks east of the Stock Exchange.

Ryan, describe what is happening as we are broadcasting right now at 8:00 in the morning.

RYAN DEVEREAUX: Well, Amy, it’s a little bit of a hectic scene here. There are—I can’t tell what the numbers are—hundreds, if not thousands, of people trying to get to the New York Stock Exchange. They met their first police barricade line at the intersection of Wall Street and Hanover, which is about two blocks east of the Stock Exchange. I noticed one young protester carrying what appeared to be the rules sign for Zuccotti Park, the rules that were posted at the park that barred them from having any sort of occupation, barred them from bringing in camping equipment, barred them from sleeping down. He was carrying that sign over his head. There’s a lot of energy here. People started gathering at around 7:00 in the morning near Liberty Square. The plan is for sort of a three-pronged blitz on the Financial District, marches coming from all different directions, and trying to basically swarm the area with people.

Now, the NYPD’s response has been equally robust. There are police vehicles, officers and barricades on every single street. There are four helicopters hovering above the Financial District when I arrived this morning. The police are definitely out in full force. City officials say they have had made plans to deal with tens of thousands in the streets, if necessary. Police wear their riot gear, helmets. And it’s a tense situation.

JUAN GONZALEZ: And Ryan, the extraordinary security precautions for people coming into the district, could you talk about that?

RYAN DEVEREAUX: Yeah. It’s pretty interesting. The police have set up these barricades at every major intersection near the Financial District, and they’re checking work IDs of people that are employed in this area. And I noticed several workers trying to get to their jobs, and they were stopped by the police, turned around, told they had to find a different way to access their place of work. And this is something that actually has been going on for the last two months of this occupation, and it’s been a major complaint among business owners here and people that work in the Financial District. The barricades and the extremely heavy police presence has really slowed down the ability of people to get to work and commerce and those sorts of things. So, it definitely frustrates the people that work here in the Financial District.

AMY GOODMAN: Ryan Devereaux, we will come back to you later in the broadcast, Democracy Now! reporter on the streets right now, a couple blocks east of the New York Stock Exchange, where—we don’t know the exact number—hundreds, thousands of people are amassing for a day of action in New York, beginning at the New York Stock Exchange.

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