Occupy Wall Street protesters say policy has to develop “from below” as rallies continue to spread.
|“Occupy DC” protesters comprise various groups and have split up to protest and meet later in the square [Reuters]|
Protesters have scuffled with security guards at a Washington museum and marched through New York City in the latest popular demonstrations in the US inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Al Jazeera’s Monica Villamizar, reporting from Washington, said Saturday’s protests were organised to oppose the use of drones by the US military.
“Protesters walked to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum and tried to go in with a banner against the use of drones,” our correspondent said.
Hundreds of people and groups, including anti-war activists, joined the Occupy DC protests in opposition to the use of unmanned aircraft by the US military, she said. The protest coincided with the 10th anniversary of the start of the Afghanistan war, where drones have frequently been used.
A museum spokesperson said one person was arrested as up to 200 protesters attempted to enter the museum, blocked by six guards.
“There was a lot of shoving going on,” Isabel Lara said, adding that one of the guards was surrounded and used pepper spray before the demonstrators were moved outside.
The shoving match broke out in the entrance after guards told the protesters they could not enter with signs, Lara said. She said she was not aware of any injuries.
Elsewhere in the US, protests were ongoing.
Several thousand Occupy Wall Street protesters marched to New York City’s Washington Square Park for a meeting which they described as a “general assembly”, on Saturday.
Demonstrators peacefully marched from Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park, the group’s unofficial headquarters dubbed “Liberty Plaza” by the group, where protesters have been camping for more than three weeks. They met to discuss expanding their protest to other sites.
Lucas Vasquez, a student leading the march, said protesters were looking at setting up camp in Washington Square and Battery Parks.
In Alabama, meanwhile, Kristin Thompson, a 22-year-old teacher and one of hundreds of protesters in
the town of Mobile said, “We’re tired of other people controlling, or thinking they control, our lives and our livelihoods.”
In Santa Fe, New Mexico, about 250 protesters lined the streets outside a Bank of America branch, waving signs at passing vehicles.
“We are all in this together,” said Ramona Beene, 45, who owns a cake company. She said her two college-age children were “spending thousands of dollars and won’t have jobs after they graduate”.
The Occupy Wall Street movement started in New York on September 17, spreading to over cities, including San Francisco and Los Angeles, California; Chicago, Illinois; Austin and Houston, Texas; Atlanta, Georgia; and Washington DC.
Dozens of protesters were arrested in New York on Wednesday when thousands marched on Wall Street in their biggest show of support yet.
The same day, 25 people who were part of the Seattle, Washington’s ‘Occupy’ protest were arrested and police confiscated demonstrators’ tents and other belongings.
Seven hundred people were also arrested in New York the previous Saturday after spilling onto the roadway while crossing the Brooklyn Bridge.
Protesters say they are speaking out against corporate greed and the gap between the rich and poor. They say they have no leaders and are making decisions by consensus.