Protesters Launch May 1 “General Strike” Amid Heavy Police Presence

The movement aimed at bringing business to a halt, but there was little evidence of that

Labor groups, Occupy Wall Street protesters and other activists staged marches throughout New York City on Tuesday intended at bringing daily business to a halt on International Workers Day, or May Day.

Organizers initially called for protesters to block one or more bridges or tunnels, but some protesters said later in the day those plans had been canceled. Occupy activists also had said they planned to bring business to a standstill on May Day. But there was no sign of any major business disruptions.

Police said more than 50 arrests were made around the city, for such infractions as disorderly conduct.

Hundreds of protesters gathered at Bryant Park in the morning, as police stood watching, before fanning out to bank offices in midtown, picketing along sidewalks in smaller groups. They then marched to Madison Square Park, chanting "all day, all week, Occupy Wall Street," and "We are the 99 Percent," before moving on to march toward Union Square for a larger rally.

The crowd clashed with police after spilling onto Fifth Avenue, where they sought to block traffic as police in riot gear pushed demonstrators back onto the sidewalk. The group chanted: "We are the people. We are united!"

Meanwhile, about 200 protesters walked over the Williamsburg Bridge from Brooklyn to Manhattan, carrying signs with sayings like "Occupy, Organize, Repeat." When the marchers reached Manhattan, they merged with another protest taking place downtown.

Click here for a schedule of planned Occupy events.

In the afternoon, several thousand people converged on Manhattan's Union Square with signs, bullhorns and other paraphernalia. Some chanted at passers-by, while others relaxed on picnic blankets in the sun. Through loudspeakers, protest organizers called for an end to corporate greed, housing foreclosures, and war.

The Occupy movement in the city has relied on demonstrations and marches around the city since Nov. 15, when police ousted hundreds of protesters from their base in Zuccotti Park near Wall Street, where they had camped since Sept. 17.

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