The month-old Occupy Wall Street movement continues to grow, with nearly $300,000 raised and participants finding satisfaction in the widening impact they hope will counter the influence on society by those who hold the purse strings of the world's economies.
The expanding occupation of land once limited to a small Manhattan park in the shadow of the rising World Trade Center complex continued through the weekend, with hundreds of thousands of people rallying around the world and numerous encampments springing up in cities large and small.
Occupy Wall Street organizers said they're pleased with their success but the movement is far from over.
"We're gratified, but not celebrating. Things remain too messed up and too many families across the US and around the world are suffering due to economic injustice for us to be celebrating," the organizers said in a statement. "Instead, we're working harder, thinking bigger, and building a movement."
More than 70 New York protesters were arrested Saturday, more than 40 of them in Times Square.
In all, hundreds have been arrested since the protest began. Some 100 of the demonstrators have been held overnight and put through the system; another 500 have been released with desk appearance tickets and have future court dates. Five cases have been dismissed, police said.
The heavy police presence required at the protest sites has been costly for the NYPD. So far, the department has shelled out $3.4 million in overtime, according to NYPD chief spokesman Paul Browne. Some officers have had to work double shifts and others have put in time on their days off.
The demonstrations worldwide have emboldened those camped out at Manhattan's Zuccotti Park, the epicenter of the movement that began a month ago Monday. But there is conflict too. Some protesters eventually want the movement to rally around a goal, while others insist that isn't the point.
"We're moving fast, without a hierarchical structure and lots of gears turning," said Justin Strekal, a college student and political organizer who traveled from Cleveland to New York to help. "... Egos are clashing, but this is participatory democracy in a little park."
Even if the protesters were barred from camping in Zuccotti Park, as the property owner and the city briefly threatened to do last week, the movement would continue, Strekal said.
Wall Street protesters are intent on building on momentum gained from Saturday's worldwide demonstrations, which drew hundreds of thousands of people, mostly in the U.S. and Europe.
Nearly $300,000 in cash has been donated through the movement's website and by visitors to the park, said Bill Dobbs, a press liaison for Occupy Wall Street. The movement has an account at Amalgamated Bank, which bills itself as "the only 100 percent union-owned bank in the United States."
Donated goods ranging from blankets and sleeping bags to cans of food and medical and hygienic supplies are being stored in a cavernous space donated by the United Federation of Teachers, which has offices in the building a block from Wall Street near the private park protesters occupy.
Among the items are 20 pairs of swimming goggles (to shield protesters from pepper-spray attacks). Supporters are shipping about 300 boxes a day, many with notes and letters, Strekal said.
"Some are heartwrenching, beautiful," and come from people who have lost jobs and houses, he said. "So they send what they can, even if it's small."
Strekal said donated goods, stored for a "long-term occupation," have been used to create "Jail Support" kits consisting of a blanket, a granola bar and sanitary wipes for arrested protesters to receive when they are freed.
The movement has become an issue in the Republican presidential primary race and beyond, with politicians from both parties under pressure to weigh in.
President Barack Obama referred to the protests at Sunday's dedication of a monument for Martin Luther King Jr., saying the civil rights leader "would want us to challenge the excesses of Wall Street without demonizing those who work there."
U.S. cities large and small were "occupied" over the weekend: Washington, D.C., Fairbanks, Alaska, Burlington, Vt., Rapid City, S.D., and Cheyenne, Wyo. were just a few.
Activists around the country said Saturday's protests energized their movement.
Some U.S. protesters, like those in Europe, have their own causes. Unions that have joined forces with the movement have demands of their own, and on Sunday members of the newly formed Occupy Pittsburgh group demanded that Bank of New York Mellon Corp. pay back money they allege it overcharged public pension funds around the country.
New York's attorney general and New York City sued BNY Mellon this month, accusing it of defrauding clients in foreign currency exchange transactions that generated nearly $2 billion over 10 years. The company has vowed to fight the lawsuit and had no comment about the protesters' allegation about pensions.