* Police arrest demonstrators in Denver and Nashville
* Protesters march to Treasury Dept. in Washington
* New York protesters hunker down in snow-covered tents
By Michelle Nichols
NEW YORK, Oct 29 A rare October snowstorm
tested the resolve of anti-Wall Street protesters camped out in
a New York park on Saturday, as police arrested demonstrators
in Denver and evicted others from a Nashville plaza.
In Washington, demonstrators marched in sleet to the U.S.
Treasury to urge higher taxes on the financial sector, beating
a drum and chanting "Banks got bailed out, we got sold out!"
Buffeted by strong winds, protesters hunkered down in
snow-covered tents in Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan, where
the Occupy Wall Street movement against economic inequality
first set up camp six weeks ago, sparking dozens of similar
occupations in city parks across the United States.
A day after New York authorities confiscated their
generators, hundreds of protesters struggled to stay warm and
dry after more than an inch (2.5 cm) of snow fell in the city
with temperatures forecast to drop to freezing overnight.
"We knew this would be tough. We didn't start this as a
sort of summer of love, it's the winter of discontent," said
Alan Collinge, 41, from Seattle, poking his head out a tent.
He estimated one in five protesters in the park had left
due to the unusually early storm, but added, "They'll be back,
we're not going anywhere."
On Friday, the New York Fire Department took away six
generators and fuel that had been powering heat, computers and
a kitchen at the camp because they were considered a safety
hazard, a move that Mayor Michael Bloomberg said was not a bid
to remove the protesters.
But recent evictions of demonstrators in places like
Oakland, California, where police used tear gas and stun
grenades, and Atlanta, have the protest movement on edge.
In Nashville, state troopers swept through a makeshift camp
in Legislative Plaza for a second night on Saturday to enforce
a curfew and 26 people were taken into custody for refusing to
leave. They were given misdemeanor citations for trespassing.
Judicial authorities have told police there are no grounds
to charge the protesters and have also questioned the legality
of the 10 p.m curfew used to clear the plaza.
In Denver, 20 economic protesters were arrested trying to
occupy the steps of the state capitol building, police said.
About 2,000 demonstrators marched peacefully through Denver
as they have for the past several Saturdays, but the situation
heated up when some of them entered the capitol grounds and
riot police fired pepper balls and mace into the crowd.
Protesters say they are upset that the billions of dollars
in bank bailouts doled out during the recession allowed banks
to resume earning huge profits while average Americans have had
no relief from high unemployment and job insecurity.
They also believe the richest 1 percent of Americans do not
pay their fair share in taxes.
Occupy Arrests, a Twitter feed compiling arrests related to
Occupy Wall Street, said about 2,800 people have been arrested
worldwide, including about 1,000 in New York City, since the
movement began five weeks ago.
The demonstrations have been largely peaceful, but turned
violent on Tuesday in Oakland, where former U.S. Marine Scott
Olsen was badly injured in clashes with police who fired tear
gas canisters at demonstrators.
Unlike protesters elsewhere, who rallied in city parks
which typically have a curfew at night, those in New York set
up camp in a privately-owned park open to the public 24 hours a
day and cannot be removed unless the owner, Brookfield Office
Properties, officially complains to the city.
Justin Stone-Diaz, 38, a spokesman for the Occupy Wall
Street movement in New York, which prides itself on not having
a leader, said that up to 3,000 people visited the camp during
the day and up to 400 people were sleeping there at night.
"Once the real snow begins in a few weeks you will see we
will contract a bit but we're prepared to stay here for the
full winter," he said.
A small brass band marched through the New York park
playing music as protesters covered their shoes with plastic
bags, wrapped themselves in space blankets and huddled together
in mainly donated tents.
"There's a lot of people out there with no roof over their
heads, nowhere to sleep, the constant fear of getting sick or
hurt because you will go bankrupt, and then there are other
people with multiple houses, multiples cars and it just doesn't
work," said Eric Larson, an electronics assembler who walked
through the park handing out hats, gloves and ponchos.
"Having people here is a reminder that there's a big
disparity in this country," he said.