Occupy Wall Street protesters plan to take their message to subways, disrupt the stock exchange and protest outside City Hall on a Day of Action on Thursday -- two days after being told they could no longer pitch tents in Zuccotti Park, their home for the last two months.
In preparation for possible chaos, hundreds of demonstrators attended a seminar Wednesday night on civil disobedience. They expect Thursday to be filled with frequent police clashes as Occupiers try to disrupt business across New York City.
"It is a disruption," said Sam Corbin, a protest leader. "It's a disruption of business as usual because business as usual has become horrific.
"It's throwing people out of their homes," she said. "It's making huge amounts of money for a very small number of people, so yes, we do want to disrupt that."
City officials say they're bracing for tens of thousands of protesters. At a City Hall briefing Wednesday, they said people have the right to assemble and protest, but they can't break the law. They said police are prepared to handle the protests.
The city also said that dealing with the protesters at Zuccotti Park for the past two months had cost an average of $3 million a month.
The day of protests Thursday marks the two-month anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement, and was planned before the city cleared protesters from Zuccotti Park on Monday night. But the timing is significant because it will show whether the movement has legs beyond the park.
On Tuesday night, after the city allowed protesters to return -- but without tents or sleeping bags -- just a dozen protesters huddled on park benches.
The protesters, who are attempting to raise awareness of income inequality and corporate greed, insist they have the resilience to survive without a home base.
“We poured a tremendous amount of resources into defending a park that was nearly symbolic,” Han Shan, an Occupy Wall Street activist, told the New York Times. “I think the movement has shown it transcends geography.”
OWS organizers announced the Day of Action on the Occupy Wall Street web site. It calls for protests throughout the city, beginning outside the New York Stock Exchange at 7 a.m., hitting 16 subway stations and transit hubs in all five bureaus at 3 p.m., ending with a protest outside of City Hall at 5 p.m.
But they're not ready to give up a claim to Zuccotti Park, either. They've organized three shifts to keep a 24-hour vigil at the park, where the movement started two months ago.
"We have to hold this space for the American people," Rick DeVoe, a protester from East Hampton, told the New York Post.