NEW YORK (Reuters) - Anti-Wall Street protesters vowed to keep up their fight on Sunday despite the arrests of more than 700 people the previous day for blocking traffic lanes on the Brooklyn Bridge in an unauthorized protest.
Police issued more than 700 summonses on Saturday to members of the Occupy Wall Street movement who, despite multiple warnings, took part in the march on the Brooklyn-bound lanes which snarled traffic in the area until the bridge was reopened hours later.
Most of the protesters who were arrested were issued summonses and released.
“In an hour or two, we’ll be somewhere else protesting,” said Patrick Bruner, an English major at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York, who has been serving a spokesman for the protesters.
He added that the group had contingency plans in case the park where they have set up a makeshift camp was raided or they were forcibly removed.
The Occupy Wall Street movement, which has garnered the support of celebrities such as filmmaker Michael Moore and actress Susan Sarandon, are protesting against home foreclosures, high unemployment and the 2008 bailouts.
In Los Angeles, more than 100 protesters camped out in front of City Hall overnight Saturday. Occupy Wall Street organizers say they hope to see such protests spread across the country.
Saturday’s march in New York began at 3:30 p.m. (8:30pm BST) from the protesters’ camp in Zuccotti Park, which is private land open to the public, in downtown Manhattan near the former World Trade Centre.
The fire department said it has been to the camp to check for fire safety issues. Members of the anti-Wall Street group have vowed to stay at the camp through the winter.
“Our concern is cooking, the use of propane tanks and garbage piling up. All we’re concerned about is that everybody is safe,” said Frank Dwyer, a spokesman for the Fire Department of New York.
The park property is maintained by Brookfield Properties, a publicly traded corporation. In a statement issued last week the company said it was extremely concerned about the conditions that have been created in the park and was working with city officials to restore the park to its intended purpose.
During Saturday’s protest on the bridge, police used orange mesh nets to surround the marchers in what witnesses described as chaotic scenes with protesters being handcuffed and taken off the bridge.
Warnings were given by the police to the protesters to stay on the pedestrian walkway.
“Some complied and took the walkway without being arrested. Others locked arms and proceeded on the Brooklyn-bound vehicular roadway and were arrested,” a police spokesman said.
The arrests followed a peaceful march to police headquarters on Friday by more than 1,000 people to protest the arrest of 80 members of the Occupy Wall Street movement the previous week in the Union Square shopping district.
During that march a few women were doused with pepper spray which was captured on video and viewed widely on the Internet.
The group has garnered support from some union members including the United Federation of Teachers and the Transport Workers Union Local 100.
Additional reporting by Mary Slosson, writing by Patricia Reaney, editing by Ellen Wulfhorst