Mass arrests in Times Square as riots descend into mayhem in Rome
Published 17/10/2011 | 05:00
Thousands of protesters decrying corporate greed and inequality marched on Times Square in New York, leading to more than 80 arrests, as demonstrations were held across the US and the world, with Italian rioters causing €1m of damage in Rome.
The Occupy Wall Street demonstrators moved north through Manhattan and held a rally for several hours in the square on Saturday night. Estimates of the crowd ranged from 5,000 to 10,000.
A police spokesman said arrests were made after protesters repeatedly ignored warnings to disperse. The demonstration was largely non-confrontational but two police officers were taken to hospital.
Protesters chanting "we got sold out, banks got bailed out" and "all day, all week, occupy Wall Street", were faced by police, in riot gear and mounted, who tried to push them out of the square.
Anatoly Lapushner, shopping with his family in Times Square, said: "Why aren't they marching on Washington and the politicians? Instead they go after the economic lifeblood of the city."
Two dozen people were held for trespassing at a branch of Citibank. Around 1,000 people paraded to a Chase bank branch and some closed their accounts.
Other demonstrations took place in dozens of places across the US ranging in size from about 50 people in Jackson, Mississippi, to thousands in larger cities. An estimated 5,000 marched through Los Angeles. There were protests in Pittsburgh, Washington, Boston and Miami.
In Chicago police arrested 175 protesters in Grant Park. The group had previously been protesting outside the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago building for 23 days.
The US protests came at the end of a "global day of action" against the world's financial system on Saturday. Demonstrations in cities around the world were largely peaceful apart from in Rome, where masked rioters torched cars, attacked banks and hurled rocks.
In the US the Occupy Wall Street protests are now entering their fifth week with demonstrators voicing their anger at the billions of dollars in bank bailouts doled out during the recession. They argue banks have been allowed to resume earning huge profits while average Americans have had no relief from high unemployment and job insecurity.
Rome's mayor, Gianni Alemanno, said rioters were "animals" after some stormed into a church, tore a crucifix from the wall and smashed a statue of the Virgin Mary. (© Daily Telegraph, London)