- At least 30 Occupy Wall Street protesters arrested after clashes with NYPD
- In anticipation of protests, NYPD stormed activists’ homes on Monday
- Tear gas launched in Oakland, California – 4 arrests made
- 12 arrested in Portland, Oregon and 10 in LA
- Black-clad protesters in Seattle used sticks to smash small downtown shop windows and ran through the streets disrupting traffic
- 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
PUBLISHED: 17:09 EST, 30 April 2012 | UPDATED: 19:13 EST, 1 May 2012
Thousands of Occupy Wall Street activists have clashed with police after swarming banks and businesses in New York as part of the movement’s massive May Day protests across the country.
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 was in New York, where protesters had planned to bring the city to a halt by blockading major arteries like the Brooklyn Bridge – and where at least 30 were arrested.
Scroll down for live footage
Clash: One protester is caught by police in New York as thousands of activists marched through the city
Chaos: Masked protestors use bats and wooden poles to destroy the glass storefront of an American Apparel store in Seattle
Confrontation: Demonstrators clash with police as a tear gas canister goes off in the background during May Day protests in Oakland
City at a standstill: Protesters march down Broadway towards Wall Street today as the Occupy movement shows no sign of dissipating
Lashing out: A police lieutenant swings his baton at an Occupy Wall Street activist in New York City
Observing: People watch the protests from fire escapes, left, and tourists take pictures of the NYPD cavalcade down Broadway, right
Sore: Another Occupy Wall Street activist with a bloody nose is arrested by New York City police
Gloating: Businessmen in a window laugh after placing a sign on their window above where Occupy Wall Street protesters were marching. It reads: ‘The harder I work, the luckier I get’
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 and others with scooters – stood guard in front of the New York Stock Exchange and the entrance to Goldman Sachs in the Financial District as chanting protesters marched south.
In Oakland, California, tear gas sent protesters fleeing a downtown intersection where they were demonstrating. It was unclear whether police fired the gas, but officers took four people into custody.
Some 50 black-clad protesters in Seattle used sticks to smash downtown store windows and ran through the streets disrupting traffic.
Burning: A police officer in riot gear emerges from the debris after shooting pepper spray at masked protestors during May Day demonstrations turned violent in Seattle
Shattered: A disguised activist pulls away more sheet glass from the window of a Wells Fargo branch in downtown Seattle today
Gang: About two dozen of the hundreds of protesters that participated in the march shattered windows and caused mayhem in Seattle
At least 12 were arrested in Portland, Oregon, and ten in Los Angeles during demonstrations.
May Day, which has been associated for more than a century with workers’ rights and the labor movement around the world, has been used by American activists in recent years to hold rallies for immigrants’ rights.
Those at Chicago’s rally said they welcomed participation from the Occupy groups. ‘I definitely see it as an enrichment of it,’ one organiser Orlando Sepulveda said. ‘It’s great.’
Far from heroic: ‘Citizen superhero’ Phoenix Jones and his sidekicks at Seattle’s May Day protests – who have allegedly been dousing protesters with pepper spray
Flagging the issue: Officers detain a man in Oakland as he tries to make a run for it with his American flag
Fashion victim: Seattle riot police shoot pepper spray at masked protesters that used bats and wooden poles to destroy the glass storefront of an American Apparel store today
Eyes front: A protester confronts a police officer near City Hall in downtown Oakland today
Grappled: Police officers try to detain an Occupy Oakland protester during May Day protests
In Los Angeles, at least a half a dozen rallies were planned. A rally was also planned in Minneapolis.
In Atlanta, about 100 people rallied outside the state Capitol, where a law targeting illegal immigration was passed last year. They called for an end to local-federal partnerships to enforce immigration law.
Back in New York, officers brought out kettling nets to cordon off any unruly protesters, while there were reports on Twitter of teargas being used along Broadway near Union Square.
‘Remember remember, the 1st of May, the day we made the bankers pay,’ read one sign held by a protester marching through Times Square.
Taken down: An Occupy Wall Street demonstrator is arrested by the NYPD while marching in the Lower East Side of New York
Grounded: NYPD officers use batons to subdue protesters on the sidewalk
Driving the issue: A New York yellow cab driver lends his support to the OWS movement
Hundreds of activists were accompanied by a smartly-clad marching band as they walked en masse from Brooklyn to Lower Manhattan across the Williamsburg Bridge.
With crowds growing, protesters flocked to Bryant Park to march to Union Square. Tom Morello, from rock band Rage Against the Machine, led a ‘Guitarmy’ Guitar Workshop beforehand.
As numbers grew and tensions rose, there were reports of disruption along the route, with police employing their batons. Arrests were reported on the Williamsburg Bridge and in Midtown.
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.’
Fighting back: NYPD officers escort the Vietnam veteran away after his arrest near Bryant Park
Rage: Demos will be held late into the night in the biggest May Day protest in the nation’s history
Demanding to be heard: Protesters brandish signs and yell outside the News Corporation building
Other defiant protesters were put in plastic handcuffs with bloody noses following scuffles with police. The New York Daily News reported there had been 15 arrests by 4.30 p.m.
Hectic: A sukey.org map shows the Occupy actions planned throughout Manhattan, New York on Tuesday
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.
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.’
It added: ‘No work, no school, no shopping, now housework, no compliance.
‘If you can’t strike call in sick. If you can’t call in sick hold a slow down.’
According to the timetable of ‘permitted actions’ on occupywallst.org, the day in New York began in Bryant Park at 8 a.m. with a ‘pop up occupation’ over the road from the Bank of America HQ.
Among the arteries into the city that could be targeted were the Brooklyn Bridge, the Lincoln Tunnel and the Holland Tunnel, causing traffic chaos and bringing Manhattan to a standstill.
There are 53 confirmed picket protests scheduled for the city, with protesters crowding the New York Times building, Sotheby’s and the U.S. Post Office, among others.
Come nightfall, there are fears that a ‘radical after-party’ at an undisclosed Financial District location could turn violent.
But the NYPD is prepared for the worst, putting detectives in uniform to boost police numbers and having arrest teams at the ready, law enforcement sources told the New York Post.
Marching on: Hundreds of protesters marched across the Williamsburg Bridge from Brooklyn to Manhattan
Force: An officer tries to squeeze through the crowd – which included a full marching band – on the bridge
Speaking out: An officer arrests a protester on the bridge, left, while others brandish signs behind, right
Cuffed: Another Occupy activist is arrested by police during a march through midtown Manhattan
In anticipation of the strike, the FBI and NYPD reportedly swooped on protesters’ homes on Monday.
‘There were a number of visits between 6:00 and 7:30 in the morning and at other points in the day that appeared to target people that primarily the NYPD, but in one instance the FBI, wanted to ask certain questions to,’ Gideon Oliver, a spokesman for the National Lawyers Guild, which has represented the activists in the past, told Buzzfeed.
‘Questions included things like “what are your May Day plans?” “Do you know who the protest leaders are?” “What do you know about the May Day protests?” and such.’
Devoted: Evelyn Talarico, from Puerto Rico but now living in Brooklyn, joins hundreds of protesters in Bryant Park
Going all out: Another activist at Bryant Park, where a rally is operating with the permission of the council
In tune with the activists: Tom Morello from rock band Rage Against the Machine marches with activists
Prepared: NYPD officers stand guard in front of the Bank of America building as protesters descend
At the ready: Other police stood in riot gear to protect a Chase bank
‘We’re experienced at accommodating lawful protests and responding appropriately to anyone who engages in unlawful activity, and we’re prepared to do both,’ NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said.
Scores of cities across the United States took part in the May Day protests.
Police in Oakland, California – where the movement’s most violent protests were held last October – reportedly used tear gas to ‘gain the attention of the crowd’. Activists clashed with baton-carrying police who fired flash-bang grenades and used a loudspeaker to order demonstrators to disperse from an intersection.
ABC7 video footage taken in Oakland also shows a woman apparently being pulled to the ground from her bike by police.
In Los Angeles, activists and union members staged early-morning protests at LAX airport, encouraging workers to leave and join their ranks. At least 10 were expecting to be arrested, theLA Times reported, while others began marching downtown.
Trouble was also reported in San Fransisco, where activists taking part in a march on Monday night were accused of smashing windows and vandalising cars along their route. Demonstrators backed off their pledge to occupy the Golden Gate Bridge.
In Chicago, Occupy protesters – watched closely by police – gathered outside Bank of America branches, chanting ‘Banks got bailed out, we got sold out’. Police blocked an entrance to a bank as numbers swelled.
In Seattle, 50 black-clad protesters marched through the city centre, carrying black flags on sticks which they used to shatter the windows of several stores including a Nike outlet and an HSBC bank before police forced them out.
The NYPD trained for the protests on Randall’s Island this weekend and the department sent around an internal memo to brace officers, the Guardian reported.
It warns of ‘pop-up’ and splinter demos that could occur at any time, especially during the evening.
It listed events such as a ‘wildcat march’ starting at 1 p.m. on East Houston Street; a ‘Bike Bloc’ to beginning at 9 a.m. at Union Square and ‘Hoodie March Against Police Violence’.
The memo notes: ‘There are fissures within OWS, but a ‘respect for diversity of tactics,’ which includes everything from peaceful protests to… vandalism… has been embraced by the movement.’
The city’s mayor Michael Bloomberg added that while he will tolerate the protest he won’t let Occupy take over the city.
He said: ‘They don’t have a right to disrupt other people and keep other people from protesting or just going about their business, and we will do as we normally do – find the right balance.’
Thousands of activists have already swarmed some of the other U.S. cities targeted by the movement, preparing to blockade major roads and bridges and occupy businesses and banks.
In Los Angeles, California, protesters marched through LAX airport, encouraging employees to join the movement rather than go to work.
In San Fransisco, which Occupy described as ‘a playground for the rich’, protests started last night.
Activists are accused of smashing windows and vandalising cars along their marching route.
Occupy Oakland, the most radical of all the Occupy groups in the U.S. has said that it scrapped plans to shut down the Golden Gate Bridge but would still organise a huge rally for the evening.
Vandalised: Workers clean windows of a Bank of America branch in Washington. Activists were also accused of vandalism in San Fransisco after they held a march on Monday night ahead of the day of action
Protests were also organised in college towns such as Amherst, Massachusetts, and Ann Arbor, Michigan, to Los Angeles, Houston and Philadelphia.
Events have been scheduled in cities including Washington and Chicago. Students were encouraged to stay away from universities and consumers were being urged not to buy anything.
Demonstrations took place in other major cities across the world, including Hong Kong, London, Madrid, Istanbul and Hamburg in Germany.
Plan of action: An Occupy flier shows the movement’s intentions for the May Day protest in New York City
The day of action comes after Wells Fargo closed three bank branches in New York City when they received suspicious envelopes containing white powder.
New York City Police told Reuters they were investigating six separate incidents of white powder reported at locations around Manhattan.
The Wells Fargo branches will remain closed pending further investigation by the police, bank spokesman Ancel Martinez said.
The branch locations are at Third Avenue and 47th Street; Madison Avenue and 34th Street; and Broadway and 85th Street.
Well, well, well… what do we have here? A British police officer ponders her next move with an activist by St Paul’s Cathedral in London
Worldwide: Protesters in London kick off the demos on International Labour Day
Intimidating: Occupy protestors join immigrant and workers’ rights protesters in Chicago, lllinois
Occupy began on September 17 last year when protesters occupied Zuccotti park in Manhattan but were cleared out two months later.
By then the movement had inspired dozens of copycat protests around the world including in the UK and across Europe.
After the crackdown its organisers were forced to holding one-off events but are now hoping to use May 1 as a way of putting themselves back in the limelight.
They are trying to latch on to what in the U.S. has traditionally been a day for labour unions to achieve their goal.
See below for video