Climate Change Activists Ascend on Wall Street

Economic IndicatorsReuters

Hundreds of protesters marched through New York City's financial district on Monday to call attention to what organizers say is capitalism's contribution to climate change, snarling traffic and risking arrest as they sought to block Wall Street.

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The Flood Wall Street demonstration comes on the heels of Sunday's international day of action that brought some 310,000 people to the streets of New York City in the largest single protest ever held over climate change.

Marchers gathered at a waterfront park before marching into the financial district, surprising New Yorkers and police by turning off Broadway and against traffic into smaller streets, against the flow of traffic.

Kai Sanburn, a 60-year-old nurse and mother of two from Los Angeles, said she had traveled to New York for Sunday's march but wanted to do more.

"Marching is wonderful but to really change things we really need to change things," Sanburn said. "The action here against Wall Street is really expressive of the feeling that corporations and capitalism no longer serve people."

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The demonstrators plan to block the steps of the New York Stock Exchange with a sit-in, where some 200 people have said they will risk arrest by the New York City Police Department during the action, according to Leah Hunt-Hendrix, a spokeswoman for the protesters.

The group has roots in the Occupy Wall Street movement that started in a downtown Manhattan park in 2011 to protest what it called unfair banking practices that serve the wealthiest 1 percent, leaving behind 99 percent of the world's population.

Flood Wall Street organizers said they hope Monday's action will draw a link between economic policies and the environment, accusing top financial institutions of "exploiting frontline communities, workers and natural resources" for financial gain.

The event is part of Climate Week, which seeks to draw attention to carbon emissions and their link to global warming, and it comes ahead of a Tuesday United Nations Climate Summit.

Some protesters said they had come out in support but hoped to avoid arrest.

"I'm not planning on participating in the sit-in. I do environmental work outside of the Occupy movement so I'm not able to risk that," said Dana Ruygrok, a 19-year-old environmental activist from Chicago. "Yesterday was awe-inspiring so I thought I want to come here and find out what it's all about."

(Writing by Victoria Cavaliere and Scott Malone; Editing by Fiona Ortiz, Sandra Maler, Susan Heavey and Cynthia Osterman)