NYC protesters march to support Oakland brethren

NEW YORK - Several hundred Occupy Wall Street protesters marched past New York's City Hall in a show of solidarity with fellow protesters in Oakland, Calif., who have been clashing with police.

While numerous police officers stood watch, the protesters marched past the padlocked gates surrounding City Hall Wednesday night chanting "March with Oakland." The marchers circled City Hall and then broke up into smaller groups as they returned to Zuccotti Park. Police said early Thursday morning that about 10 people had been arrested.

CBS News station WCBS-TV of New York reports that the nighttime march tied up traffic in Lower Manhattan.

On Tuesday, police in riot gear used tear gas to clear hundreds of protesters from Oakland's Occupy Wall Street encampment, unnerving some anti-Wall Street protesters. An Iraq War veteran marching with Oakland demonstrators suffered a cracked skull in the chaos between officers and protesters, further raising concern among some in the movement.

The moves come as business owners, residents and officials in some cities are increasingly complaining about crime, sanitation problems and disruptions to business.

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Across the country, a CBS News/New York Times poll released Tuesday found that 43 percent of Americans agree with the views of the Occupy Wall Street movement and found a widespread belief that money and wealth should be distributed more evenly in America.

Twenty-seven percent of Americans said they disagree with the movement, according to the poll. Thirty percent said they were unsure.

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In Oakland, another showdown between police and protesters appeared to be averted late Wednesday night as several hundred filed out of a plaza declared off-limits for overnight use and marched through nearby streets.

An AP photographer on the scene said police erected barricades to prevent the marchers from reaching a freeway, sending the group down side streets en masse.

Small contingents of officers could be seen following behind but there were no signs of any confrontations or arrests. The march tapered off after about an hour, with most of the protesters apparently dispersing.

Scott Olsen, a 24-year-old Marine veteran, was in critical condition Wednesday after he had been struck, said a spokesman for Highland Hospital in Oakland.

It was not clear exactly what type of object hit the veteran or who might have thrown it, though the group Iraq Veterans Against the War said it was lodged by officers.

Police Chief Howard Jordan said at a news conference that the events leading up to Olsen's injury would be investigated as vigorously as a fatal police shooting.

"It's unfortunate it happened. I wish that it didn't happen. Our goal, obviously, isn't to cause injury to anyone," the chief said.

While demonstrators in other cities have built a working relationship with police and city leaders, they wondered on Wednesday how long the good spirit would last and whether they could be next.

Will they have to face riot gear-clad officers and tear gas that their counterparts in Oakland, Calif., faced Tuesday? Or will they be handcuffed and hauled away in the middle of the night like protesters in Atlanta?

"Yes, we're afraid. Is this the night they're going to sneak in?" said activist William Buster of Occupy Wall Street, where the movement began last month to protest what they see as corporate greed.

"Is this the night they might use unreasonable force?" he asked.

The message from officials in cities where other encampments have sprung up was simple: We'll keep working with you. Just respect your neighbors and keep the camps clean and safe.

Business owners and residents have complained in recent weeks about assaults, drunken fights and sanitation problems. Officials are trying to balance their rights and uphold the law while honoring protesters' free speech rights.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said Wednesday that the Occupy LA encampment outside City Hall "cannot continue indefinitely."

Villaraigosa told the Los Angeles Times that he respects the protesters right to peacefully assemble and express their views, but they must respect city laws and regulations.

San Francisco police have already cleared two encampments. Most recently, police estimated at least five protesters were arrested and several others injured in a clash Tuesday evening.

Some cities, such as Providence, R.I., are moving ahead with plans to evict activists. But from Tampa, Fla., to Boston, police and city leaders say they will continue to try to work with protesters to address problems in the camps.

In Oakland, officials initially supported the protests, with Mayor Jean Quan saying that sometimes "democracy is messy."

But tensions reached a boiling point after a sexual assault, a severe beating and a fire were reported and paramedics were denied access to the camp, according to city officials. They also cited concerns about rats, fire hazards and public urination.

Demonstrators disputed the city's claims, saying that volunteers collect garbage and recycling every six hours, that water is boiled before being used to wash dishes and that rats have long infested the park.

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