Image: A solitary Occupy Wall Street protestor holds a sign outside a nearly empty Zuccotti Park early on Wednesday
John Minchillo  /  AP
A solitary Occupy Wall Street protestor holds a sign outside a nearly empty Zuccotti Park during the early morning hours on Wednesday, Nov. 16. news services
updated 11/16/2011 7:30:42 PM ET 2011-11-17T00:30:42

Occupy Wall Street protesters hope to rebound on Thursday with a rally at the New York Stock Exchange to show their battle against economic inequality has life after they were evicted from a downtown park.

Rallies by the two-month-old movement have numbered in the hundreds of people in New York but the protesters and city officials said they expect thousands of people to pour into the Wall Street area from 7 a.m.

It will be a test of whether Occupy Wall Street and the loosely knit global alliance it inspired will flag or get a boost after the police cleared a camp of several hundred protesters from Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan on Tuesday.

"This movement is really not about tents as much as it is about an idea and we're keeping the idea through a number of direct action things planned" for Thursday, said spokesman Ed Needham. "There's also going to be events in 100 countries around the world tomorrow."

Occupy Wall Street plans to shut down the home of the New York Stock Exchange and the heart of American capitalism with a street carnival that kicks off a day of protests.

"We are certainly anticipating tens of thousands of people protesting, aimed at significant disruption of the daily lives of people of this city," Howard Wolfson, New York's deputy mayor, told reporters.

"We take it seriously," he said. "Our forces will be deployed accordingly."

Ensuring the constitutional rights of the protesters to free speech and freedom of assembly was "critically important," Wolfson said, "but we will also ensure public safety."

Ustream star is born at Wall Street protests

After the police raid and a cleaning of Zuccotti Park, protesters were allowed to return but were banned from setting up camp again. Numbers dwindled to less than two dozen overnight on Wednesday.

"We're going to occupy this park for a long time," said Jason Holmza, 30, of Washington State. "Right now we've got to figure out where to turn our attention to."

Protesters say they are upset that billions of dollars in bailouts given to banks during the recession allowed a return to huge profits while average Americans have had no relief from high unemployment and a struggling economy.

A night of re-Occupation at Zuccotti Park

They also believe the richest 1 percent of Americans do not pay their fair share of taxes.

Protesters set up camp in Zuccotti Park on September 17 and it became the epicenter for the movement, sparking rallies and occupations of public spaces across the United States and elsewhere in the world.

The clearing of the New York park followed recent evictions in Atlanta, Portland and Salt Lake City. Unlike action in Oakland, California, where police used tear gas and stun grenades, most protesters left voluntarily.

"I was dismayed by the number of people who stayed," said Sam DeLily, 23, from the New York borough of Queens. "I was disappointed that more people didn't realize we'd need a show of support last night more than ever."

A couple of dozen protesters took refuge at two Manhattan churches that offered them a place to sleep, while Occupy Wall Street's Needham said hundreds more were put up by New Yorkers who offered their homes.

PhotoBlog: Occupy Wall Street

Story: Berkeley protesters defy authorities, pitch tents

Some of the latest developments in the Occupy protests:

Officers have begun arresting people after Gov. Nikki Haley ordered Occupy Columbia protesters to leave the lawn of the South Carolina Statehouse.

Haley gave the protesters less than two hours to leave Wednesday. Most of them packed up their mattresses, coolers and other supplies collected in a month of continuous protests.

But about 20 people decided to challenge the governor's order.

They sat by the Confederate flag on Statehouse grounds, put their hands up and chanted. They were arrested shortly before 6:30 p.m. in the pouring rain without incident.

Haley says she decided to end the protest because the people sleeping and rallying at the Statehouse have cost the state more than $17,000 in property damage and overtime for police officers.

In a city that celebrates behaving badly, Occupy Las Vegas protesters are touting civil obedience and government cooperation as anti-Wall Street efforts elsewhere have turned to violence and police confrontations.

Las Vegas demonstrators have sought approval from government leaders and police before protesting or setting up a camp site. They called off a protest during President Barack Obama's visit to Las Vegas last month because police asked them to do so. And they have created a system of protest rules that ban, among other things, law-breaking and hate signs.

The good behavior in Las Vegas and other Occupy efforts across Nevada is even more noteworthy because Nevadans may have the most cause to rage against the machine. The state tops the nation in foreclosures and unemployment and entire neighborhoods have been overtaken by vacant homes and storefronts.

But while protesters in other cities riot and rage, the Vegas group is hosting a series of free foreclosure mediation workshops for homeowners who are underwater on their mortgages.

Organizers insist their anti-greed message has a better chance of spreading if they aren't labeled violent anarchists.

An 84-year-old woman has become a face of the national Occupy Wall Street movement after she was hit with pepper spray during a Seattle march.

Video: 84-year-old pepper sprayed at ‘Occupy’ Seattle (on this page)

A photo of Dorli Rainey with the chemical irritant dripping from her chin quickly went viral, becoming one of the most striking images from the protests that have taken place in cities across the globe.

Rainey has been active in Seattle's liberal politics for decades and once ran for mayor. She said Wednesday that she showed up at the downtown protest the previous day to show support.

Police say demonstrators were blocking a downtown intersection.

Rainey was not among the six people arrested.

Mayor Mike McGinn is apologizing to some protesters who were pepper sprayed during a march and said he has spoken to Rainey.

London officials attached eviction notices to protest tents outside St. Paul's Cathedral on Wednesday. They are asking demonstrators to remove the camp by Thursday evening or face legal action.

The notices posted by the City of London Corporation said the encampment was "an unlawful obstruction" of a sidewalk, and asked protesters to take down "all tents and other structures."

Cathedral and city officials had suspended legal action to remove the camp two weeks ago, and offered the protesters a deal to allow them to stay until the new year if they then agreed to leave. But the corporation said Tuesday that talks had failed and it was resuming legal action.

If the more than 200 tents are not removed, the corporation says it will go to court seeking an eviction notice. That process could take weeks or months.

Philadelphia officials have told protesters camping out next to City Hall to leave because of the "imminent" start of a long-planned renovation project.

Mayor Michael Nutter's office said Wednesday the city has posted an official notice saying the $50 million renovation work at Dilworth Plaza is about to start following selection of a general contractor. Officials issued no deadline and said they would work with the protesters on finding another location for them.

"This project's commencement is imminent," the statement said. "Accordingly, you should take this opportunity to vacate Dilworth Plaza and remove all of your personal belongings immediately."

The protesters have had hundreds of tents camped in the plaza for more than a month. The group has resisted the city's call to move to another plaza across the street to clear the way for the renovation.

An attorney for Occupy Dallas said an agreement with the city was reached Wednesday that allows protesters to stay at a campsite near City Hall four more weeks — as long as they obey the law.

Protesters say they will keep their campsite clean so they don't get kicked out.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings has said public safety and health conditions are a "paramount concern."

The city last week alleged protesters violated an agreement allowing the campsite. The city noted reports of an alleged sexual assault of a child, the removal of a baby over possible endangerment and trespassing arrests.

A Boston judge has ordered the city not to remove protesters or their tents from a downtown encampment without court approval, except in an emergency such as fire, a medical issue or an outbreak of violence.

A temporary restraining order was issued after a hearing Wednesday on the protesters' lawsuit. Fuller arguments will be heard Dec. 1, and the judge orders the sides to hold a mediation session before then.

A lawyer for the demonstrators says they are concerned they will be forced out in the middle of the night as Occupy protesters were in New York City this week.

San Francisco police began arresting students and anti-Wall Street protesters who stormed into a downtown Bank of America, sat down and began chanting.

More than 100 demonstrators stormed the bank Wednesday chanting, "Money for schools and education, not for banks and corporations."

Riot-clad officers began putting plastic cuffs on the demonstrators, who refused to leave the bank.

The bank protest occurred after ReFund California, a coalition of student groups and university employee unions, bused in protesters from UC Berkeley, the University of California, Merced and other schools to join San Francisco's Occupy demonstrators.

Occupy San Diego protesters have once again been rousted from a downtown plaza by police.

The San Diego Union-Tribune says nine people were arrested and a 10th was cited during the confrontation early Wednesday.

Officials say most arrests were for resisting or obstructing police.

Officers used bull horns to roust sleepers at the Civic Center Plaza. A police statement says tables, sleeping bags and other items were removed so the area could be cleaned up.

It is the latest confrontation in the city where 74 people were cited or jailed since the demonstrations began last month.

Occupy Indy protesters have been given 24-hours to clear out their camp on the Statehouse lawn.

In a letter delivered Wednesday, the Department of Administration ordered the handful of remaining protesters to clear out. The state gave protesters until Thursday afternoon to clear out and said protesters who try to stop them will be arrested.

Protesters said the order was not about their safety but about stifling their demonstration.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: 84-year-old pepper sprayed at ‘Occupy’ Seattle


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