POLICE in New York have arrested at least 70 demonstrators marking the first anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement by launching new protests, witnesses say.
Representatives of the National Lawyers Guild at the scene told AFP the number of arrests had gone up to 70 from an earlier estimate of 35.
Some were arrested when they started moving from Zuccotti Park, the birthplace of the Occupy movement, toward Wall Street as police on horseback blocked side streets, an AFP reporter observed.
Others were seen being arrested by police at another approach to Wall Street.
Protesters had split into four groups with some marchers appearing on Broadway to disrupt the morning commute before later converging in larger number on Zuccotti Park.
“We are sending the message that Wall Street bankers cannot go to work every morning without thinking what their institutions are doing to the country,” Occupy spokesman Mark Bray said.
The protest movement has seen a steep drop in support since it was founded a year ago, when hundreds camped in Zuccotti Park to rally against bank bailouts and what they called the ruling “one per cent”.
Early Monday, roughly 200 demonstrators – monitored closely by a throng of police – gathered outside the park carrying signs that read “Get money out of politics” and “We are the 99 per cent”.
“We are here to raise our voices against Wall Street greed,” spokesman Bill Dobbs said.
By mid-morning some 600 protesters had converged on Zuccotti Park