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Wall Street protesters on the move again in NYC, marching to bank branches
NEW YORK (AP) ' Demonstrators from the Occupy Wall Street encampment marched again in New York City on Saturday, tromping through the streets of the financial district to protest the role that big banks played in the nation's financial crisis. And marchers throughout the country emulated them in protests from Boston to Jackson, Miss.
As many as 1,000 protesters in Manhattan paraded to a Chase bank branch, banging drums, blowing horns and carrying signs decrying corporate greed.
"Banks got bailed out. We got sold out," the crowd chanted.
A few protesters went inside the bank to close their accounts, but they group didn't stop other customers from getting inside or seek to blockade the business.
Police told the marchers to stay on the sidewalk, but the demonstration appeared to be fairly orderly as it wound through downtown streets.
Later, police arrested 19 people at a Citibank branch near Manhattan's Washington Square Park, saying they were trespassing and being disorderly. Two people were accused of resisting arrest.
Overseas, the protests turned violent in Rome, where police fired tear gas and water cannons as protesters turned the demonstration into a riot, smashing shop and bank windows, torching cars and hurling bottles. Dozens were injured.
Tens of thousands nicknamed "the indignant" marched in cities across Europe, as protests that began in New York linked up with long-running demonstrations against government cost-cutting and failed financial policies in Europe. Protesters also turned out in Australia and Asia.
Stateside, among the demonstrators in New York withdrawing their money from Chase was Lily Paulina, 29, an organizer with the United Auto Workers union who lives in Brooklyn. She said she was taking her money out because she was upset that JPMorgan Chase was making billions of dollars, while its customers struggled with bank fees and home foreclosures.
"Chase bank is making tons of money off of everyone ... while people in the working class are fighting just to keep a living wage in their neighborhood," she said.
"We aren't going to be a part of this system that doesn't work for us," said another demonstrator withdrawing her money, 20-year-old Brooklyn College student Biola Jeje.
Other demonstrations were planned around the city all day Saturday, including an anti-war march to mark the 10th anniversary of the war in Afghanistan.
Among the people participating in that march was Sergio Jimenez, 25, who said he quit his job in Texas to come to New York to protest.
"These wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were all based on lies," Jimenez said. "And if we're such an intelligent country, we should figure out other was to respond to terror, instead of with terror."
The weekend brought out protesters in other parts of the country as well, and more rallies were planned in such cities as Little Rock, Ark., Providence, R.I.; and Seattle.
For the first time, protesters gathered in Harrisburg, Pa., the state's capital, and about 200 miles west in Pittsburgh, where marchers included young people and also union members, physicians, and parents with children in strollers. The peaceful crowd stretched for two or three blocks and about 500 people were involved, police said.
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick visited protesters in Boston's Dewey Square for the first time. He said that after walking through the camp, he better understands the range of views and was sympathetic to concerns about unemployment, health care and the influence of money in politics.
The governor said he had no opinion on whether protesters should be allowed to stay indefinitely. He didn't respond to a heckler who criticized him for having an expensive home and said he was no friend of the protesters.
About 50 people ranging from college students to older people gathered in a park in downtown Jackson, Miss., carrying signs calling for "Health Care Not Warfare." Organizers expected more people to come and go during the day.
In Denver, protesters who were removed from a park next to the state Capitol on Friday by police in riot gear planned to regroup. Several slept on a sidewalk Saturday morning, the day after 23 people were arrested.
The Rev. Al Sharpton led a march in Washington that was not affiliated with the Occupy movement but shared similar goals. His rally, the March on Washington for Jobs and Justice, was aimed at drumming up support for President Barack Obama's jobs plan. Thousands of demonstrators packed the lawn in the shadow of the Washington Monument to hear labor, education and civil rights leaders speak, including Sharpton.
Associated Press writers Kevin Begos in Pittsburgh, Eric Tucker in Washington, Jay Lindsay in Boston and Jack Elliott Jr. in Jackson, Miss., and AP Radio correspondent Martin Di Caro in New York contributed to this report.