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OWS Marks 'May Day' With Marches & Protests Across NYC

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Activists with "Occupy Wall Street" spread out across the city Tuesday for a series of marches, rallies and other events ranting against corporate greed on May Day, or International Workers Day.

WCBS 880's Peter Haskell Reports From The Protests


"We want more control over our lives and the world. Right now, Wall Street controls everything," said protester Haviba Alcindor.

PHOTOS: Occupy Wall Street's May Day Movement

While they may have been loud and boisterous, the protests were largely peaceful.  However, approximately 40 arrests were made Tuesday on various charges, including disorderly conduct, blocking traffic and resisting  arrests, the NYPD said.

Protesters made their way from Union Square down Broadway to NYC Transit headquarters in the Financial District Tuesday evening before thinning out later Tuesday night.  They even marched past Zuccotti Park, the movement's home for two months last fall.

Tuesday's protests also attracted some Occupy Wall Street veterans, who did not hesitate to voice their opinions.

"America is looking really dumb for what it's doing to it's citizens, so this public demonstration is showing other nations that we need to catch up," one protester said.

Groups from every social and political cause participated in the march, 1010 WINS' Sonia Rincon reported. Rincon said the march looked like a parade -- featuring musicians, colorful signs and some costumes -- minus the floats.

1010 WINS' Sonia Rincon reports


The evening march caused some traffic headaches in Lower Manhattan.  The "May Day" protests were similar to what takes place every year, but Rincon reported the crowds were much larger this year.

"This is a big freedom of speech party, where everybody is just sharing their ideas and sharing what they know and how we can progress as a people," one man told CBS 2's Pablo Guzman.

Approximately 100 protesters gathered in Bryant Park Tuesday morning before dispersing to picket in front of banks and other businesses throughout Manhattan.

1010 WINS' Terry Sheridan reports


Earlier, several dozen protesters marched to Bank of America on West 42nd Street chanting "Bank of America, bad for America!''

"I felt there should be a difference and the 1 percent should really pay their taxes," Rollison's daughter, Jude, said.

Others protesters converged on sites of large corporations and financial institutions around the city, including Chase, Citibank, News Corp., General Electric and Disney.

"A lot of what we see is wrong with the system is because corporations have so much influence over Congress," said OWS organizer Alexis Goldstein.

Organizers had called for protesters to block bridges or tunnels into the city to disrupt commuters as well as other "creative disruptions against the corporations who rule our city," according to an Occupy website, but no major incidents of blocking traffic had been reported.

But many have grown impatient with the movement.

"I am part of the 99 percent, but I work hard, pay my taxes," said Tracy Arevalo from Jersey City. "I just graduated college with a master's degree because I want to do something about it. I don't want to be part of the problem."

Law enforcement was more than prepared for the resurgence of Occupy Wall Street protestors, but Mayor Michael Bloomberg questioned the point of the protests.

'May Day' Protests
Members of the NYPD on 14th Street as Occupy Wall Street and others march across New York City on May 1, 2012 (credit: Marla Diamond, WCBS 880)

"If you want to change things, I don't know what protesting does," he said. "Why not try to go out and do something and make it better? Help kids get a better education. Start a business. There's a lot of ways that you can volunteer and help make this city better and this country better."

Occupy has defended its actions ever since they first launched out of Zuccotti Park last fall.

"The only way we can get our voice out is to get out in the street and demonstrate in the tradition of so many protest movements before," said OWS organizer Mark Bray. "You wouldn't be here if we were just circulating an online petition. You're here because were out in the streets."

The NYPD, meanwhile, is investigating letters containing white powder that were delivered to the offices of several corporations and banks in Manhattan on Monday and Tuesday.

Seven letters were received Monday at various locations, including Wells Fargo and to where the mayor's mail is processed. Three more were received Tuesday -- two of the letters were mailed to News Corp., one of which was addressed to the Wall Street Journal.  A third letter was sent to Citicorp, police said.

The letters each contained a message that said "This is a reminder that you are not in control'' and "Happy May Day.''

Police believe they're all connected and were supposed to coincide with the May Day protests.

"Same bogus return address, same messages inside and at least of those tested, so far, the same non-toxic material," said NYPD spokesman Paul Browne.

The powder was determined to be cornstarch, police said.

Similar Occupy May Day protests took place in cities throughout the country Tuesday, including Minneapolis, Chicago, Atlanta and Los Angeles, among others.

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