NYPD officers turned out in force in Lower Manhattan Friday to confront disgruntled protesters, who had been booted from Zuccotti Park in previous days, after word spread of protesters' promise to "shut down" Wall Street. Here are some photos from the scene as well as comments from protesters.
Clark Luster, a retiree, came to New York from North Carolina this week specifically to fight for the so-called 99 percent representing the "Occupy Wall Street" movement. The banner he held called for healthcare for all, jobs with dignity, quality public education, and a healthy environment.
"We all need to be here. I have no affiliation with anybody, except that I feel I need to be here," he said.
Luster described a case of police brutality he said he witnessed.
"I just saw a kid playing with the fence. They [police] were pulling the fence away and about 25 cops pounced on him, knocked him down, and held him to the ground. I don't know why. I was standing right here. It was totally unnecessary."
"Who’s winning? We're winning! Whose park? Our park?" a protester who did not want to be identified yelled as he circled Zuccotti Park, close to the barricades surrounded by police.
He referred to the same "kid" Luster said he witnessed being tackled by police, even though he was "not doing nothing."
He said, "The police is brutal. There is no need for all this unnecessary brutality. The cops are just angry that they have to be here, freezing their butts off, so once they have a chance to kick some a**, they grab it! But really, they should join us, because they are being used by this system just as we are. They are also the 99%."
Also present among protesters Friday was a hedge fund manager of 10 years with an MBA from Harvard who told The Christian Post that he had been in the "money managing business" since 1990, and that he runs a successful hedge fund.
"I think that this is democracy, people are speaking out. I’m seeking economic justice as, I think, many people here are. I think there's a sense in the country that there's no economic justice. That the elected officials are permitting economic injustice to continue," he said.
Josh, a 30-year-old musician said, "People keep tearing the barricades down, they usually get arrested, and the police puts the barricades up."
"We are here completely legally. The only people who are here illegally are those who have tents. It was never illegal for us to be in this part, according to no judge was it ever illegal. Even the second opinion that [NYC Mayor] Bloomberg got, because he didn't like the first opinion of the New York Supreme Court , even the second opinion said that it was never illegal for people to occupy this park."
Father Jacob Smith, a Catholic priest from Calvary St. George's Episcopal church in Manhattan told CP, "I can understand why everyone is angry. It's a general unrest for all in this country about the diminishing middle class, and I think this is a fruit of a huge problem in our country, and a problem in which the people who are a part of it don't feel like a part of it any more, and don't feel like they have a say."