Dozens held in new Occupy protests
Dozens of Occupy Wall Street protesters have been arrested in New York City after they scaled a chain-link fence or crawled under it to get to church-owned land they want to use for a new camp site.
Protesters used a wooden ladder to scale the fence or lifted it from below while others cheered them on. A man wearing a Santa suit stood on the ladder among others, as they ignored red "Private Property" signs.
As officers made arrests, protesters shouted obscenities and shouted: "Make them catch you!"
The group was inside the site for a short time before being led out by police in single file through a space in the fence. About 50 people were arrested, police said.
"We're just trying to say that this country has gone in the wrong direction, and we need spaces that we can control and we can decide our future in, and that's what this is about," said David Suker, who was among those who scaled the fence.
Before the arrests, several hundred gathered in Duarte Square, a half-acre wedge of a park at the edge of Manhattan's Tribeca neighbourhood and across the street from the vacant land. They gathered partly to mark the three-month anniversary of the Occupy movement and partly to demand use of the site, owned by Trinity Church.
After police cleared the protesters from the lot, about 200 people regrouped for a march on Seventh Avenue. Police began making arrests, tackling at least two people in the street and handcuffing them. When the protesters cleared the avenue, the crowd continued to march to Times Square under a heavy police presence.
The original Occupy Wall Street camp in Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan was shut down last month. Trinity is a Zuccotti Park neighbour that helped demonstrators assemble, and provided them shelter in the three months since the movement began. The day after authorities moved in and cleaned out Zuccotti Park, about a dozen protesters went to the vacant site, clipped the fence at the church-owned property and were arrested, along with some journalists.
Since then, some Occupy protesters have launched a bid to gain the church's consent for them to use the space. Trinity's Rev James H Cooper said giving the protesters access to the lot would not be a safe or smart move.
"There are no facilities at the Canal Street lot. Demanding access and vandalising the property by a determined few OWS protesters won't alter the fact that there are no basic elements to sustain an encampment," he wrote in a statement. "The health, safety and security problems posed by an encampment here, compounded by winter weather, would dwarf those experienced at Zuccotti Park."