NEW YORK – Dozens of Occupy Wall Street protesters were arrested Saturday after they scaled a chain-link fence or crawled under it to get to an Episcopal church-owned lot they want to use for a new camp site.
The group was inside the lot for a short time before being led out by police in single file through a space in the fence. About 50 people were arrested, police said.
Before the arrests, several hundred gathered in Duarte Square, a half-acre wedge of a park at the edge of Manhattan’s Tribeca neighborhood and across the street from the vacant lot. They gathered partly to mark the three-month anniversary of the Occupy movement and partly to demand use of the lot, owned by Trinity Church.
After police cleared the protesters from the lot, about 200 people regrouped for a march on Seventh Avenue. Police began making arrests, tackling at least two people in the street and handcuffing them. When the protesters cleared the avenue, the crowd continued to march to Times Square under a heavy police presence.
The original Occupy Wall Street camp in Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan was shut down last month. Trinity is a Zuccotti Park neighbor that helped demonstrators assemble, and provided them shelter in the three months since the movement began.
After authorities cleaned out Zucotti Park, some Occupy protesters have launched a bid to gain the church’s consent for them to use the space. Trinity’s Rev. James H. Cooper said giving the protesters access to the lot would not be a safe or smart move.
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