NEW YORK — Nearly a thousand protesters took to the streets of Lower Manhattan on Thursday, clashing with the police and tossing aside metal barricades to converge again on Zuccotti Park after failing in an attempt to shut down the New York Stock Exchange.
Across the nation, Occupy Wall Street protesters clogged streets and tied up traffic to mark two months since the movement's birth and to signal they aren't ready to quit. In New York, the so-called day of action came two days after the police cleared the Occupy Wall Street encampment from Zuccotti Park in an early-morning raid. Removed from the park that had become their de facto headquarters, protesters looked to Thursday to gauge the support and mettle that the movement still retained.
"We failed to close the stock exchange, but we took back our park," said Adam Farooqui, 25, of Queens. "That was a real victory."
At least 300 people were arrested in New York. Some were bloodied during the arrests. One man was taken into custody for throwing liquid, possibly vinegar, into the faces of several police officers, authorities said. Many demonstrators were carrying vinegar as an antidote for pepper spray.
The demonstrations — in cities including Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Boston, Washington, New Orleans, Miami, Philadelphia and Portland, Ore. — were for the most part peaceful. Most of the arrests were for blocking streets, and traffic disruptions were brief.
Chanting "All day, all week, shut down Wall Street," more than 1,000 protesters gathered near the New York Stock Exchange and sat down in several intersections. Helmeted police officers broke up some of the gatherings. Operations at the stock market were not disrupted.
As darkness fell, a coalition of unions and progressive groups joined Occupy demonstrators in staging rallies at landmark bridges in several U.S. cities.
Several of the demonstrations coincided with an event planned months earlier by a coalition of unions and liberal groups, including Moveon.org and the SEIU, in which out-of-work people walked over bridges in several cities to protest high unemployment.
The street demonstrations were planned well before police raided a number of encampments over the past few days but were seen by some activists as a way to demonstrate their resolve in the wake of the crackdown.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said police had been expecting as many as 10,000 protesters based on what activists had been saying online. But he said there had been "minimal disruption."
Information from the Associated Press, New York Times and Miami Herald was used in this report.