Demonstrators took over a bowtie-shaped archipelago of pedestrian plazas on Times Square Saturday, chanting, singing and marching in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement that has been camping further downtown for a month now. The protesters gathered in two distinct groups. Those on the southern section of the action were more traditionally political: making speeches, chanting and flashing banners to the crowd. Those on the northern section, part of a festive demonstration billed The Occupation Party by organizers, were more light-hearted in the approach: performers, dancing and even a brass band took center stage here.
The event was part of a wider day of solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations, which took place in various countries across the globe. In New York, demonstrators spent most of the day marching back and forth between the original encampment in downtown Manhattan's Zuccotti Park, rallies in Washington Square Park and the show of force in Times Square. A small group also briefly took over Sarah Roosevelt Park in the Lower East Side.
While people began streaming into the penned-in plazas on Times Square after 4 p.m., and a substantial crowd had already assembled on what would become the southern section of the protest by 4:30, most people arrived after 5 p.m. A brass band and performers on stilts arrived, much to the delight of the people assembled on the northern section of the protest, around 5:30. Shortly before 6:00 p.m., a large contingent of protesters, who had been marching north from Washington Square Park, arrived on West 47th Street.
Police scrambled to contain the crowd and allow vehicular traffic to flow, using horses, motorcycles, a helicopter and partial riot gear to complete the task. While some arrests were made, few tested their luck jumping over the barricades. After several hours, the crowd started winding down.