Protesters in at least four U.S. cities supporting the growing anti-Wall Street movement were arrested after refusing to obey police orders to leave public areas, including 175 people in Chicago, where the arrests brought about a new phase of civil disobedience, organizers there said Sunday.
The arrests were mostly peaceful and came as somewhat of a contrast to earlier demonstrations, where protesters took care to follow laws in order to continue protesting Wall Street's role in the financial crisis and other grievances about economic injustice. The arrests came after a day of protests in cities around the world where tens of thousands gathered to rally against what they see as corporate greed.
Most of those marches Saturday were largely nonconfrontational, though dozens were arrested in New York and elsewhere not for refusing to obey orders but when police moved to contain overflowing crowds or keep them off private property. Two officers in New York were injured and had to be hospitalized.
At least one protest grew violent. In Rome, rioters hijacked what had been a peaceful gathering and smashed windows, tore up sidewalks and torched vehicles. Repair costs were estimated at $1.4 million, the mayor said Sunday.
In addition to the arrests in Chicago, 46 people in Phoenix were arrested for misdemeanor criminal trespass after refusing to leave a park, Phoenix police spokesman Sgt. Trent Crump said. And police said some protesters were arrested after they remained in a Tucson, Arizona, park past the 10:30 p.m. closing time. An exact number wasn't available Sunday.
In Colorado, at least two dozen people were arrested for refusing to move out of the street at a rally that attracted hundreds to downtown Denver, police said.
In Chicago, about 500 people had set up camp at the entrance to Grant Park on Saturday evening after a protest earlier in the day involving about 2,000. Police said they gave protesters repeated warnings after the park closed at 11 p.m. and began making arrests when they refused to leave.
Officers also asked protesters to take down their tents before beginning to cut them down to clear the area, police said. Protesters were released Sunday and face court dates.
The decision to stay in the park "was very much a choice and calculated," said Randy Powell, a 27-year-old student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago who was among those arrested. "I feel like I had to."
The tactic to occupy a city park has been used in other places with local officials often working to accommodate them. For example, protesters in Iowa reached a deal with Des Moines' mayor to move from the state Capitol to a city park, avoiding arrests. Plans to temporarily evict New York protesters from the park where the Occupy Wall Street protest began weeks ago so the grounds could be power-washed were postponed at the request of political leaders Friday.
But Chicago protesters said they've come up short. Some organizers said conversations with city officials weren't encouraging, but they also have yet to apply for permits. A message left Sunday for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office wasn't immediately returned.
And in Minneapolis, sheriff's deputies tore down makeshift tents at a county government plaza but made no arrests, Minnesota Public Radio reported. Though the protesters are allowed to stay on the plaza all night, tents are banned.
In New York, two dozen people were arrested Saturday when demonstrators entered a Citibank branch and refused to leave, police said. They asked the branch to close until the protesters could be taken away.
Earlier, as many as 1,000 demonstrators also paraded to a Chase bank branch, banging drums, blowing horns and carrying signs decrying corporate greed. A few went inside the bank to close their accounts, but the group didn't stop other customers from getting inside or seek to blockade the business.
Lily Paulina of Brooklyn said she was taking her money out because she was upset that JPMorgan Chase was making billions of dollars, while its customers struggled with bank fees and home foreclosures.
"Chase bank is making tons of money off of everyone ... while people in the working class are fighting just to keep a living wage in their neighborhood," the 29-year-old United Auto Workers organizer said.
Police told the marchers to stay on the sidewalk, and the demonstration seemed fairly orderly as it wound through downtown streets.
The day culminated in an event in the city's Times Square, where thousands of demonstrators mixed with gawkers, Broadway showgoers, tourists and police to create a chaotic scene in the midst of Manhattan.
"Banks got bailed out, we got sold out!" protesters chanted from within police barricades. Police, some in riot gear and mounted on horses, tried to push them out of the square and onto the sidewalks in an attempt to funnel the crowds away.
Throughout the U.S. — from several dozen people in Jackson, Mississippi, to some 2,000 each in Pittsburgh and Chicago — the protest movement gained momentum.
Nearly 1,500 gathered for a march past banks in downtown Orlando, Florida. Hundreds marched on a Key Bank branch in Anchorage, Alaska, and declared it should be foreclosed.
In Colorado, about 1,000 people rallied in downtown Denver to support Occupy Wall Street and at least two dozen were arrested.
Rallies drew young and old, laborers and retirees. In Pittsburgh, marchers included parents with children in strollers. The peaceful crowd stretched for two or three blocks.
"I see our members losing jobs. People are angry," said Janet Hill, 49, who works for the United Steelworkers labor union, which she said hosted a sign-making event before the march.
Retired teacher Albert Siemsen said at a demonstration in Milwaukee that he'd grown angry watching school funding get cut at the same time banks and corporations gained more influence in government. The 81-year-old wants to see tighter Wall Street regulation.
Around him, protesters held signs reading: "Keep your corporate hands off my government," and "Mr. Obama, Tear Down That Wall Street."
In Canada, demonstrators gathered in cities across the country from Halifax, Nova Scotia, to Vancouver, British Columbia, with hundreds of people protesting in the heart of Toronto's financial district. Some protesters spent the night at parks in Toronto and several other cities.
Overseas, tens of thousands nicknamed "the indignant" marched in cities across Europe, as the protests that began in New York linked up with long-running demonstrations against government cost-cutting and failed financial policies in Europe. Protesters also turned out in Australia, Asia and South Africa.
Associated Press writers Sophia Tareen in Chicago, Bob Seavey in Phoenix, Kevin Begos in Pittsburgh, Dinesh Ramde in Milwaukee, Charmaine Noronha in Toronto, Jack Elliott Jr. in Jackson, Miss., and Colleen Long, David B. Caruso and AP Radio correspondent Martin Di Caro in New York contributed to this report.