Thousands of Occupy Wall Street protesters took their act to Broadway today, marching from downtown Manhattan to Times Square, as the movement went global with demonstrations in major cities around the world.
The scene in Times Square was loud and tense, but without any violence. Police penned in the thousands of protesters in a three-block-long area, but the officers on the scene seemed more focused on traffic control than on any confrontation with the marchers.
The group set up facing the Armed Forces recruiting station in Times Square to protest the money being spent on foreign wars instead of on people struggling in the United States with no jobs and no health care.
Despite the loud chants and bongos of the demonstrators, police managed to keep the throngs of tourists moving pretty smoothly past the protest.
Most of the dozens of protests around the world sparked by the Occupy Wall Street movement were peaceful today, but in Rome a small group broke away from the main protest and smashed shop windows and torched a car, breaking away from the main group of occupiers.
Marchers in Manila denounced "U.S.-led wars and aggression," while also railing against economic decline and disparities fueled by Wall Street, The Associated Press reported.
Protesters in Tokyo also said they were waging war on economic inequality.
About 300 Australians echoed the mantra first trumpeted by the New York City protesters: "We are the 99 percent," their descriptor for those who are not in the wealthiest 1 percent of the population.
There were also more demonstrations in other cities around the United States, as the movement contines to grow.
"There's a lot of things wrong in our county that need to be corrected and the only way to get them corrected is to start with a grassroots movement," said Larry Coleman in Flint, Mich.
In London, demonstrators hoping to take a lesson from Occupy Wall Street's New York City progenitors showed up prepped and ready, said California native Babken DerGrigorian, 25, who has a master's degree from the London School of Economics.
"We came up with a list of 10 working groups: Logistics, media, internal communications, process, external communications..." said UCLA graduate DerGrigorian, one in what he estimates were up to 3,000 mostly younger London protesters joining Occupy Wall Street's slated 950-city "International Day of Action."
"Occupy Wall Street, media-wise, started out with really bad coverage. We don't want anyone to miss the point of what this is about. Our governments have been hijacked by corporate interests, and the solutions won't come from our politicians," he said. "My mom is a bookkeeper for a nonprofit. My dad passed away a few years ago ... and my two little sisters are high school seniors who do not know if they can actually afford to go to college."
While the protests were relatively peaceful, Scotland Yard said two people had been arrested for assault on police officers and one for public disorder in London, according to the BBC.
DerGrigorian said the protesters had assembled at St. Paul's Church, nextdoor to the London Stock Exchange. Police barred access to protestors including
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was among the speakers, telling the crowd, "This is not about the obstruction of law, this is about the construction of aw," according to DerGrigorian.
Assange waited his turn at the microphone and was allowed to speak by a consensus vote of the newly forming group, DerGrigorian said.