"Rage" against Wall Street power clogs sidewalks
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Protesters complaining about the power of the financial industry staged noisy demonstrations that slowed pedestrian traffic on Wall Street for a third day on Monday, vowing to continue "for as long as it takes" to achieve vague demands.
Up to 150 protesters near the New York Stock Exchange held up signs saying "we must end corporate tyranny and corruption" and "debt is slavery". The protesters claimed up to 350 demonstrators had come and gone throughout the morning.
Police reported eight arrests -- two for attempting to enter a Bank of America office on Saturday, when larger crowds amassed for a protest billed as a "Day of Rage," and six more on Monday. At least four on Monday were held for wearing masks, which is illegal for groups of two or more, police said.
"The elite corporate power have hijacked democracy," said Alexander Penley, an international lawyer from New York. "The economic depression we are experiencing today has something to do with how Wall Street is run."
Demonstrators have displayed other signs including "commodity inflation causes starvation" and "I can't afford a lobbyist," indicating wide-ranging frustration with what they say is the financial industry's lack of accountability for the 2008 financial crisis and persistently high unemployment.
Police maintained an intense presence in the Financial District, partitioning off areas of the sidewalk and slowing pedestrian traffic in a neighborhood that in recent years has become more a tourist attraction than a center of financial trades.
The demonstrators have vowed to stay for months, though it was unclear what message Wall Street employees would hear.
"The truth is I was only half paying attention to what they were saying," said Ken Polcari, managing director of ICAP Equities.