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Saturday, December 3, 2016

NEW YORK (AFP) – “Occupy Wall Street” returned to the streets of New York City Tuesday to mark the second anniversary of the birth of the social protest movement.

Some 250 people gathered at midday in Zuccotti Park in Manhattan’s downtown financial district, where the movement first gained ground.

As police kept a close eye, the activists then peacefully marched up Broadway to Washington Square.

At least three people were arrested for blocking traffic.

The demonstrators carried signs with a multitude of messages. One read “Too much deregulation.” “Disarm the Pentagon,” read another.

The Occupy movement was born in New York on September 17, 2011, when a group of youths put up tents in Zuccotti Square to protest social and economic inequality with the slogan “We are the 99 percent.”

It quickly spread to other U.S. cities but fizzled out due to a lack of hierarchy and clear goals.

The tent camps were subsequently raided by police. In New York, authorities went in early on November 15, 2011, to clean up the square.

“I was here at the beginning,” said Jason Woody, an activist marking Tuesday’s anniversary.

“It’s funny because a lot of people like to say that Occupy is dead, but it’s not exactly what happened,” the 29-year-old added.

Instead, he told AFP, people took what they learned by coming together back to their home communities to start other movements there.

“The things we did here did inspire people in all parts of the world, to stand up and take control,” he said.

“It has been a long [and] hard journey …We changed the conversation in this country.”

Another demonstration was planned later Tuesday at the United Nations.

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