Nightly News   |  October 14, 2011

Occupy Wall Street claims small victory

The expected showdown between the Occupy Wall Street protesters and New York police was avoided, after officials decided not to evacuate protesters from a Lower Manhattan park. NBC’s Mara Schiavocampo reports.

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This content comes from a Full-Text Transcript of the program.

WILLIAMS: Good evening.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: Protesters here in New York who are part of the movement that calls itself Occupy Wall Street that has spread across the country are claiming victory tonight. What was going to be a showdown in a public park today did not happen. This protest movement is showing strength. It's still growing, changing and spreading while some are trying to define the focus and the mission from this point forward. We begin tonight with NBC 's Mara Schiavocampo in lower Manhattan . Mara , good evening.

MARA SCHIAVOCAMPO reporting: Brian , good evening. On day 28 of the Occupy Wall Street movement, hundreds of protesters here in New York went head-to-head with police as celebrations turned to clashes. Fourteen were arrested as police tried to control jubilant crowds spilling into the streets. Just moments after it was announced demonstrators would not be removed from Zuccotti Park here, where they've been camping for the last month. Video posted online showed a protester after he was allegedly hit by a police officer 's motorcycle, an incident that didn't dampen spirits. This is an impromptu celebratory march, protesters here declaring victory in that showdown with the park's owners. The march ended on Wall Street , where those who work in finance have been paying attention.

Unidentified Woman: I think the economy is a disaster, and people need jobs, but I don't know how protesting gets jobs.

Unidentified Man: I think some of their grievances are legitimate.

SCHIAVOCAMPO: While the protests continue to grow beyond New York , with arrests and demonstrations in Seattle and San Diego ...

Group: This is what democracy looks like!

SCHIAVOCAMPO: ...experts say the movement will ultimately be judged, not by size, but staying power.

Mr. LARRY SABATO (University of Virginia Center For Politics Director): The real test of the movement is whether it can last a year until the next election.

SCHIAVOCAMPO: Back at New York 's Zuccotti Park where the protests started, demonstrators certainly seemed to be settling in for the long haul, their small camp transformed into a mini city with a medical center, an info station, and free food. Once criticized for being leaderless and unfocused, group organizers now say that by harnessing the power of the people, they are becoming stronger and they're not going anywhere.

Mr. MARK BRAY (Occupy Wall Street): We are a force to be reckoned with and that we need to be treated seriously and engaged with in negotiation and not just threatened.

SCHIAVOCAMPO: Organizers say tomorrow there will be a global day of protest with events planned in more than 800 cities worldwide. Brian :

WILLIAMS: Mara Schiavocampo , starting us off in lower Manhattan tonight, thanks.