Occupy Wall Street protesters arrested in New York City finance district

NEW YORK (AP) -- Police arrested protesters who sat on the ground and blocked traffic into New York's financial district on Thursday, part of a day of mass gatherings in response to efforts to break up Occupy Wall Street camps nationwide.

Police in riot helmets hauled several protesters to their feet and handcuffed them one block from Wall Street.

"All day, all week, shut down Wall Street!" the crowd chanted.

After several arrests, most of the protesters retreated down the street. A line of riot police followed them.

"You do not have a parade permit! You are blocking the street!" a police officer told protesters through a bullhorn.

The congestion brought taxis and delivery trucks to a halt.

The protest had been planned before the city and park owners cracked down on the encampment in Zuccotti Park, but took on added importance to the protesters after tents, tarps and sleeping bags were cleared out early Tuesday and the granite plaza across the street from the World Trade Center site was cleaned for the first time since the group arrived more than two months ago.

The confrontations in New York followed early-morning arrests in Dallas, where police evicted dozens of protesters from their campsite near City Hall citing public safety and hygiene issues. They arrested 18 protesters who refused to leave.