Two days after their dramatic eviction from Zuccotti Park, Occupy Wall Street roared back to life Thursday with colossal force on its citywide "Day of Action," leading to mass arrests and violent clashes with an overwhelming police presence.
At least 242 protesters were collared by the end of the day, and at least seven NYPD officers were hospitalized with injuries as thousands of protesters marched throughout lower Manhattan, the NYPD told amNewYork. At least five protesters were charged with felony assault.
"This is a 100% success. Everybody in the world has heard us today," said Anup Desai, a press liaison for Occupy Wall Street. "The entire world is listening now, and we're only going to get bigger. This is only the beginning of many, many more movements."
Confrontations with police quickly turned violent after protesters tried returning to a barricaded Zuccotti Park following an early morning protest on Wall Street.
One protester threw what was likely vinegar in the faces of police; an officer cut his hand shielding himself from a "star-shaped" object, requiring 20 stitches; and one protester was left bloodied. (Police said he hit his head on the concrete while resisting arrest.)
The movement eventually came to a head at Foley Square and the Brooklyn Bridge around 6 p.m., where it's estimated that at least 5,000 people gathered for a march across the bridge called the "Festival of Lights," in which protesters held small flashlights or candles.
The police were also out in force, filling vans and manning barricades. The rally was generally peaceful, though reports estimated that at least 60 people
were arrested near the Brooklyn Bridge.
Among those arrested was Councilman Jumaane Williams - who was also arrested at the West Indian Day Parade in September - along with at least 26 journalists, with five bearing NYPD credentials.
Thomas Story, 55, of Flatbush, who was among the protesters at Foley Square, said Thursday's showing will only strengthen OWS.
"It's a great showing for the movement. People are finally seeing how bad it is out there, and more and more people keep getting involved," he said, adding that the movement's next step should be to throw out politicians who "are beholden to the dollar."
Shahid Comrade, 50, also of Flatbush, agreed: "When you take a stand against something, you have to face struggles. ... Our message has been delivered."