September 22, 2014 / 9:10 AM / 3 years ago

Climate protesters march on Wall Street, block street near NYSE

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Hundreds of protesters marched through New York City’s financial district on Monday and blocked streets near the stock exchange to denounce Wall Street’s role in raising money for businesses that contribute to climate change.

Protesters stopped traffic on Broadway south of the New York Stock Exchange. Three people were arrested.

The demonstration, called Flood Wall Street, came on the heels of Sunday’s international day of action that brought 310,000 people to the streets of New York City in what activists was said was the largest protest ever held on climate change.

Sunday’s turnout was about triple that of the previous biggest, a Copenhagen demonstration five years ago.

Shortly after the close of trading on the New York Stock Exchange at 4 p.m., demonstrators tried to push back metal barricades the New York Police Department had used to keep them away, an effort that ended when police turned pepper spray on the crowd.

Activist Gloria Fallon, from Chicago, holds a parachute banner which reads 'Justice' while taking part in the Flood Wall Street demonstration in Lower Manhattan, New York September 22, 2014. REUTERS/Adrees Latif

The group has roots in the Occupy Wall Street movement that started in a downtown Manhattan park in 2011 to protest what it called unfair banking practices that serve the wealthiest 1 percent, leaving behind 99 percent of Americans.

A protester carries a sign with an image of the Statue of Liberty wearing a gas mask as he takes part in the "People's Climate March" down 6th Ave. in the Manhattan borough of New York September 21, 2014. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

Kai Sanburn, a 60-year-old nurse and mother of two from Los Angeles, said she had traveled to New York for Sunday’s march and wanted to do more.

“Marching is wonderful but to really change things we really need to change things,” Sanburn said on Monday. “The action here against Wall Street is really expressive of the feeling that corporations and capitalism no longer serve people.”

Flood Wall Street organizers said they hope Monday’s action will draw a link between economic policies and the environment, accusing top financial institutions of “exploiting frontline communities, workers and natural resources” for financial gain.

The event is part of Climate Week, which seeks to draw attention to carbon emissions and their link to global warming, and it comes ahead of a Tuesday United Nations Climate Summit.

Writing by Victoria Cavaliere and Scott Malone; Editing by Fiona Ortiz, Sandra Maler, Susan Heavey and Cynthia Osterman

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