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OWS Protesters Mark One Year With Same Message, Smaller Crowd

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TWC News: OWS Protesters Mark One Year With Same Message, Smaller Crowd
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Occupy Wall Street demonstrators marked a year since the movement made headlines a year ago with mass civil disobedience in Lower Manhattan Monday.

The New York City Police Department reported making a total of 181 arrests over the course of the day.

Some protesters were arrested after sitting down on the sidewalk.

"We were celebrating the first anniversary, Happy Birthday to Occupy, and we are looking forward to another great year," said one Occupy protester being led away in handcuffs.

A large crowd gathered Monday morning across the street from Zuccotti Park, where the movement started a year ago. They later entered the park and stayed long into the night.

It's a contrast to last year when people and tents took up every inch of the private park.

"I'm not disappointed because it's just one day and anything that is actually sort of worth its weight will continue a little bit everyday," said one protester.

"Yes, there aren't any tents here, there are fewer people out on the streets, but there are still a lot of people active within the movement itself," said another protester.

Earlier in the morning, marchers split into different groups and have been moving around the Financial District since as police monitored their progress.

Police say they thwarted an effort from protesters to make a human blockade at the New York Stock Exchange.

Protesters say the issues that originally drew them out last year are still important.

"Even though there's been a lot of great strides in terms of changing the national conversation to some of the issues that brought us out here, we're in a terrible situation and we need to continually draw people's attention to the crimes of this district," said one protester.

"The sort of idea of let's continue to bring the issues about economic corruption and what the banks have done to the American public, that's still very much alive in people's hearts in one way or another," said another protester.

Politicians aligned with the movement say it needs both outside agitators and leaders working from inside the system.

"No good basketball team doesn't have an inside-outside game," said City Councilman Jumaane Williams. "You have people dunking the ball and you have people on the periphery shooting the three. I think that's what we need here."

Some commuters had a tough time getting to work with all the extra people downtown.

Though the tents are long gone, and their ranks are diminished, protestors say their message of income inequality rings true a year later.

"We've changed the conversation," said one. "There were never stories about income inequality in the news two years ago."

"It's more successful almost underground than it is overt and on the news every day," said another

More than 30 cities worldwide are also celebrating the Occupy movement's anniversary.

Police made about 40 arrests throughout the weekend.

Charges range from disorderly conduct to assault.

While the protests and the music lasted well into the night in Zuccotti Park, demonstrators say don't expect another encampment. Not only are police unlikely to allow it but Occupiers say their tactics have evolved and while they may not be as visible as they move into their second year of existence, they are here to stay.

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