NEW YORK (Reuters) - About 100 protesters were arrested on Monday in New York City during a demonstration that at one point blocked streets near the stock exchange to denounce what organizers say is Wall Street’s contribution to climate change.
The demonstration, called Flood Wall Street, drew hundreds of protesters, and came a day after a bigger action that brought 310,000 people to the streets of New York in what activists described as the largest protest ever against climate change.
Sunday’s turnout was about triple that of the previous biggest demonstration on climate change, a Copenhagen demonstration five years ago.
For several hours on Monday, protesters stopped traffic on Broadway south of the New York Stock Exchange.
Shortly after the close of trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Monday, demonstrators tried to push back metal barricades that police had used to keep them away, an effort that ended when police turned pepper spray on the crowd.
Police later broke up the gathering, ordering remaining protesters to disband. A core group of a few dozen activists staged a sit-in steps away from Wall Street, and police officers handcuffed and walked them away one-by-one.
In all, about 100 people were arrested on Monday, including three protesters taken into custody earlier in the day, a police representative said. Protest organizers gave the same estimate for the number of arrests.
The protest group behind Monday’s action has roots in the Occupy Wall Street movement that started in a downtown Manhattan park in 2011 to protest against what it called unfair banking practices that serve the wealthiest 1 percent, leaving behind 99 percent of Americans.
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.
“The action here against Wall Street is really expressive of the feeling that corporations and capitalism no longer serve people,” Sanburn said.
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 front-line 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 U.N. Climate Summit.
Writing by Victoria Cavaliere and Scott Malone; Editing by Alex Dobuzinskis, Sandra Maler, Robert Birsel