New Yorkers who thought they had seen the last of Occupy Wall Street had a rude awakening yesterday as protesters stormed the city in numbers not seen since the height of the movement last fall.
After a quiet winter hibernation for Occupy, yesterday's "May Day" general strike at first seemed like a washout, with just a couple hundred protesters gathering in Bryant Park during the early morning rain showers.
But their numbers grew steadily throughout the day as scores of protesters moved through the city, picketing outside the offices of corporations like Disney, Bank of America, Chase, Paulson & Co. and marching through Midtown.
Later yesterday afternoon, police arrested several protesters who were part of a larger group of Occupiers making their way from Buchwick across the Williamsburg Bridge. An earlier announcement on the OWS website encouraged protesters to try to block bridges and tunnels, though that never happened yesterday.
The NYPD reported more arrests during an afternoon "Wildcat" march that left from Sara D. Roosevelt Park in the East Village. Police said other protesters were cuffed in SoHo and Greenwich Village.
An estimated 15,000 protesters converged at Union Square just before 5 p.m. before departing on a massive permitted march down Broadway to Wall Street to Battery Park City, where the protest raged into the night.
"The sheer numbers are nothing to be laughed at," protester Liberty Locke told Metro. "These numbers are amazing."
Jesse Greenspan contributed to this report.
In all, about 86 people associated with OWS were arrested yesterday, according to the NYPD Wednesday morning.
— Police estimate four protesters were arrested in and around Bryant Park, including one man who said he was a Vietnam veteran arrested for blocking traffic.
— Police made more near Waverly and 6th Avenue when protesters marched to Washington Square Park.
— Police made at least three arrests on the Manhattan side of the Williamsburg Bridge when a group of protesters crossed it from Brooklyn.
— Police made several arrests near Spring Street and Lafayette during the "Wildcat" march.
— More protesters were arrested during the massive march from Union Square to the Financial District, where some confrontations with police occurred when protesters arrived at the foot of Wall Street to see it heavily barricaded.