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80 arrested at 'Occupy Wall Street' protest

About 80 people have been arrested as demonstrators who were camped out near the New York Stock Exchange marched through lower Manhattan.
Image: Protester being arrested in NYC
Police carry away a demonstrator Saturday in a march organized by Occupy Wall Street in New York. About 80 were arrested.Tina Fineberg / AP
/ Source: staff and news service reports

Police arrested about 80 demonstrators near the New York Stock Exchange on Saturday as they marched through lower Manhattan.

The "Occupy Wall Street" protest is entering its second week. Several hundred protesters have been camped out at New York's private Zucotti Park, blocks from the stock exchange.

On Saturday afternoon, several hundred marched north toward Union Square.

Demonstrators said Saturday that they are protesting bank bailouts, the mortgage crisis and Georgia's execution of Troy Davis. They said the protests were inspired by demonstrations in Egypt and Spain.

The marchers carried signs spelling out their goals. "Tax the rich," one sign said. "We Want Money for Healthcare not Corporate Welfare," read another.

"Occupy Wall Street," they chanted, "all day, all week."

Organizers said their intent was to occupy Wall Street but, with metal barricades and swarms of police officers in front of the New York Stock Exchange, the closest they could get was Liberty Street, about three blocks away.

The first arrest came shortly after noon near the stock exchange. Several blocks away, another protester, who identified himself as Robert Stephens, was arrested after kneeling in the middle of the street outside the Chase Bank building.

"That's the bank that took my mother's home," said Stephens, a law student, before being handcuffed.

At Manhattan's Union Square, police tried to corral the demonstrators by using orange plastic netting. Some of the arrests were filmed and activists posted the videos online.

Protest organizers told The New York Times that about 85 people had been arrested and that about five were struck with pepper spray.

Among those was Chelsea Elliott, 25, who said that she was sprayed after shouting “Why are you doing that?” as an officer arrested a protester at East 12th Street.

“I was on the ground sobbing and couldn’t breathe,” she said.

Police say the arrests were mostly for blocking traffic. Charges include disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. But one demonstrator was charged with assaulting a police officer. Police say the officer involved suffered a shoulder injury.

Protest spokesman Patrick Bruner criticized the police response as "exceedingly violent" and said the protesters sought to remain peaceful.

Many protesters returned to their encampment Saturday night, where they were joined by new arrivals.

“Right now we are more determined than ever that what we are doing is necessary and correct,” said Patrick Bruner, a spokesman for the protesters, told the Times.