Occupy Wall St. anniversary plan stymied by NYPD, low turnout

Liz Goodwin
The Lookout
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The turnout was smaller than expected and dozens of arrests dogged the Occupy Wall Street's one-year anniversary protest Monday morning.

At least one item on the official Occupy protest schedule had gone awry by the morning: "10:00 AM Action: Storm Wall Street."

A wall of police officers, some on horseback, had barricaded off the entrance to Wall Street, where protesters were hoping to form a human chain to protest corporate greed and income inequality. People who worked in buildings behind the barricades had to show police officers their ID cards to get through.

Meanwhile, the NYPD carted out a bus full of dozens of protesters arrested earlier Monday morning onto Broadway, a warning to those who lingered behind. Some protesters cheered their arrested comrades, who gazed back at them from the bus windows. An empty NYPD paddy wagon quickly took its place.

The large and organized police presence left some protesters scared to move to other areas of the Financial District where demonstrations were scheduled. Lee Rogers, an activist from Los Angeles, said he got a "weird feeling" right before he was supposed to go to the "education zone" for a meet-up Monday morning, and decided instead to stay in front of Trinity Church. Several of his friends who went to the meet-up were arrested, he said, fueling his suspicions that police know where their gatherings are and lie in wait to arrest them.

Still, Rogers said he thinks the anniversary has been a success.

"This is only year one," he said. "We're like a baby."

Just then, Rogers' friend handed him a marijuana cigarette, and two police officers quickly descended.

"Put it out, now!" a police officer shouted.

"It's out," Rogers replied.

"Get me one more time and you're coming with me," the police officer muttered as he walked away.

"Now I've got a big 'X' by my name," Rogers said with a sigh as he watched the officers walk away.

Hundreds of protesters showed up in solidarity with the 1-year-old anti-Wall Street movement, but the number paled in comparison to the demonstrations a year ago, some of which drew thousands.

At 8 p.m. the group plans to march to Liberty Square, which may draw larger crowds than the morning's events.

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