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Occupy movement holds protests to mark 1-year anniversary

Protesters from the Occupy Wall Street movement took to the streets of lower Manhattan on Monday to mark the one-year anniversary of the movement.

North of the border, Occupy Toronto followers boarded buses for Ottawa on Monday morning to attend a protest on Parliament Hill against Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

The New York Police Department arrested fewer than a dozen activists, led by retired Episcopal Bishop George Packard, who refused to move from a checkpoint along the broad perimeter police had set up to block access to the New York Stock Exchange by anyone other than exchange workers who showed identification.

Occupy protesters had pledged to disrupt the morning commute in lower Manhattan as part of a day of actions in New York and other cities aimed at rejuvenating a movement that has failed to sustain momentum after sparking a national conversation about economic inequality last fall.

The group, which popularized the phrase “We are the 99  per cent,” gathered early Monday near Zuccotti Park, where a spontaneous encampment became their unofficial headquarters last year. They were barred access by police.

Several protesters held signs as the crowd chanted, “All day, all week, occupy Wall Street.”

The grassroots movement caught the world by surprise last fall with a spontaneous encampment in lower Manhattan that soon spread to cities across North America and Europe.

Occupy Wall Street briefly revived a spirit of U.S. social activism, and drew attention to economic injustice.

The group sponsored a series of activities over the weekend, each attended by hundreds of supporters. New York police arrested about three dozen people at those events.