Occupy protesters march nationwide

NEW YORK (AP) — Thousands of Occupy Wall Street demonstrators took to the streets around the U.S. on Thursday to mark two months since the movement’s birth and signal they aren’t ready to quit, despite the breakup of many of their encampments by police.

At least 75 protesters were arrested in New York for blocking streets near the New York Stock Exchange, and one man was taken into custody for throwing liquid, possibly vinegar, into the faces of several police officers, authorities said. Police in Los Angeles arrested 23 people.

Demonstrations were also planned or under way in such cities as Washington, St. Louis, Las Vegas and Portland, Ore.

Chanting “All day, all week, shut down Wall Street,” more than 1,000 demonstrators gathered near the NYSE and staged sit-ins at several intersections. Helmeted police broke up some of the clusters, but most of the crowd re-assembled in Zuccotti Park, where the encampment that served as the unofficial headquarters of the Occupy movement was broken up by police earlier this week.

“This is a critical moment for the movement given what happened the other night,” said Paul Knick, a software engineer from Montclair, N.J., as he marched through the financial district. “It seems like there’s a concerted effort to stop the movement, and I’m here to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

Organizers in New York said protesters would fan out across Manhattan later in the day and head into the subways, then march over the Brooklyn Bridge.

About 500 sympathizers, many of them union members, marched in downtown Los Angeles between the Bank of America tower and Wells Fargo Plaza, chanting, “Banks got bailed out, we got sold out.”

Some onlookers applauded the demonstrators from open windows. Others yelled, “Get a job!”

The confrontations followed early-morning arrests in other cities. In Dallas, police evicted dozens of protesters near City Hall, citing health and safety reasons. Eighteen protesters were arrested. Two demonstrators were arrested and about 20 tents removed at the University of California, Berkeley.

City officials and demonstrators were trying to decide what to do about an encampment in Philadelphia, where about 100 protesters were ordered on Wednesday to clear out immediately to make way for a long-planned $50 million plaza renovation at City Hall.

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