Protesters in Oakland, California violently clashed with police early Wednesday, and Occupy Wall Street demonstrators in New York responded by taking to the streets of Manhattan in a show of solidarity. NY1's Michael Herzenberg filed the following report.
Police tried to keep hundreds of Occupy Wall Street protesters out of the street Wednesday and even brought in scooters in an attempt to cut off marchers.
They lost control of Church Street for a while as protesters marched in the middle of the road. By the time protesters got to City Hall, police had regained control and closed City Hall Park early.
Police arrested at least 10 people and brought in netting to control the crowds.
In Oakland , California earlier in the day, protesters expressed outrage at the unfairness of the country’s banking and financial systems. Hundreds swarmed the streets and clashed with riot police. They threw bottles and tipped garbage cans.
Several people were injured, including an Iraq war veteran who was hit in the head with a rubber bullet and is in critical condition.
The protests in New York City Wednesday night aimed to express solidarity with Oakland.
“There’s a lot of anger in this protest,” said a demonstrator. “It’s crazy, it’s just a show of how much the people want to come together and support each other.”
“If they feel the need to physically assault people because they temporarily blocked traffic for people who will be able to go afterwards, then that’s fine, I have no problem with that. The real question is what we’re going to do about police departments that literally put somebody in the hospital,” said another.
Earlier in the day, more than 200 protesters, including many from Occupy Wall Street, marched against what they say is a broken health care system.
Marchers headed to St. Vincent’s Hospital, which went bankrupt and closed last year.
Protesters said the reason for that is the for-profit health care system.
A group called Healthcare-NOW!, which advocates for improved Medicare for all, organized the march with Healthcare for the 99%, one of the sub-groups at Occupy Wall Street.
They marched from Zuccotti Park to St. Vincent’s in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village and said the system has a whole is unfair and that corporate greed is a big part of the problem.
“I don’t have health insurance, and even the program at my university is too expensive for me to pay into, so, and these programs are slated to be cheaper than the rest,” said one protester.
“I’m out here because health care is a human right, and everyone deserves it,” said another.
Protesters specifically singled out Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, which has millions of members in New York State.
Sally Kweskin, a company spokesperson, released a statement that said “Three cents of each dollar made goes to profit. You can take for-profit or non-profit out of the equation, it’s not going to change the cost of premiums. Medical care is costly.”