Occupy Wall Street: Two Months In, ‘Day of Action’ Gets Boost From Eviction

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Mike Segar / Reuters

Occupy Wall Street demonstrators move through the streets of lower Manhattan near the New York Stock Exchange during a "day of action" in New York, November 17, 2011

Even before the NYPD raid that cleared Occupy Wall Street from its base camp before dawn on Tuesday, the Nov. 17 “Day of Action” promised to be big. The two-month anniversary of the movement’s beginning–with marches planned on Wall Street and across New York City–got an inadvertent boost from the Zuccotti Park eviction.

Early this morning, at least a thousand protesters assembled in Zuccotti Park, the lower Manhattan space that served as their base camp from September 17 until the NYPD evicted them. The occupiers held their usual nightly general assemblies, but the park’s new rules, which a Manhattan judge ruled the city can enforce, prohibit the use of tents and sleeping bags as well as sleeping overnight.

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Today’s “day of action” began when protesters filled the park and then marched on Wall Street. Armed with the protesters’ plans, which have been on the web all week, police set up barricades around Wall Street and another set of barriers one block to the north and south. Protesters clashed with police at several intersections, and around 100 were arrested in the morning march, but most of the protests have been peaceful. On Pine Street, one block north of Wall Street, the 200 assembled marchers used the “people’s mike” to allow protesters to tell their stories of economic strife.

Perhaps the biggest confrontation occurred back at Zuccotti Park when the march was mostly completed. A small group of protesters grabbed the barricades and dragged them from the park’s perimeter, causing cheers of, “Whose park? Our park!” One of the protesters tossed a barricade in exuberance, which caused police to move in. There were reports of police throwing barricades in an attempt to move in and break up the scrums, but order was restored quickly.

Even before the marches began, it was clear that Tuesday’s raid galvanized supporters to the day of action. As TIME’s Ishaan Tharoor wrote, one organizer estimated that the eviction may have tripled the number of people who came out in solidarity. Organizers are hoping that momentum carries into this afternoon, when union members will rally with the protesters at Foley Square. The last time the unions march in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street, more than 12,000 people filed past City Hall. This time, they plan to march across the Brooklyn Bridge, where 700 protesters were arrested in October. Given the turnout this morning, this afternoon will be large, and if there are mass arrests again, it could be a long night for the NYPD.

Below, TIME talks to Tim Pool, who has been livestreaming Occupy Wall Street for two straight days.

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Nate Rawlings is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @naterawlings. Continue the discussion on TIME‘s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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