Thousands of Occupy activists descend on New York as part of biggest May Day protests in nation’s history
Occupy Wall Street protesters targetting banks on march through New York
Plan to bring city to a halt by blocking roads such as Brooklyn Bridge
Will stage march from Bryant Park to Union Square this afternoon
In anticipation of protests, NYPD stormed activists’ homes on Monday
Events planned in 135 cities, including Oakland, Chicago and San Francisco
Comes after Occupy called for a general strike, urging workers and students across the U.S. to stay at home today in an act of defiance
By Daniel Bates and Lydia Warren
1 May 2012
Thousands of Occupy Wall Street activists have swarmed banks and blue-chip companies in New York City as part of the movement’s massive May Day protests across the country today.
In a deliberate attempt to bring large-scale European-style May 1 protests to America for the first time, Occupy called for a general strike, urging workers to attend marches rather than work.
The biggest swell of defiance is in New York, where protesters are planning to bring the city to a halt by blockading major arteries like the Brooklyn Bridge.
Activists brandishing banners with anti-capitalist slogans swarmed picket lines at the Chase Building on Park Ave, while others gathered behind barricades at the Bank of America tower at Bryant Park.
Police officers – some in riot gear – stood guard in front of the New York Stock Exchange and the entrance to Goldman Sachs in the Financial District as chanting protesters began marching south.
‘Remember remember, the 1st of May, the day we made the bankers pay,’ read one sign held by a protester marching through Times Square.
Protesters moved to Bryant Park and intend to march to Union Square this afternoon. Tom Morello, from rock band Rage Against the Machine, will lead a ‘Guitarmy’ Guitar Workshop beforehand.
Among the early-morning arrests was a man identified as a Vietnam veteran outside the Bank of America HQ. ‘Freedom isn’t free,’one activist tweeted. ‘Got to arrest some veterans to preserve it.’
The mass-scale protest comes after the anti-capitalism movement called for a general strike and urged millions of workers to stay at home today and gather in city centres in an act of defiance.
On its website, Occupy wrote: ‘For the first time, workers, students, immigrants, and the unemployed from 135 U.S. cities will stand together for economic justice.’