Photos of Occupy Wall Street march in Bryant Park protesting President Obama

There are benefits to working in midtown Manhattan: abundant lunch spots, easy access to public transportation and an up-close view of the Occupy Wall Street protests.

I left my office around 6:05 tonight and ran smack into an Occupy Wall Street rally with a decidedly anti-war bent.

Dozens of protesters were walking around the perimeter of Bryant Park waving American flags and carrying signs reading “No more killing for Wall Street” and “Endless war: Wet dream of the 1%.”

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Tonight’s protest added to the frenzy of an already jam-packed Wednesday night. Within a few hours and a few city blocks, midtown Manhattan witnessed the Rockefeller Center tree lighting, a Justin Bieber appearance and President Obama’s fundraiser at the Sheraton.

>> Scroll down for more photos of the Bryant Park rally

Protest aimed at Obama

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Within minutes of leaving my office I joined a throng of spectators (the typical midtown mix of business people and tourists) snapping photos on our iPhones and angling for better shots of the signs.

President Obama appeared to be a main target of the protest, with one sign showing his image alongside Bush and another asking him pointedly,

“Obama, which side are you on?”

According to the New York Observer, the march was scheduled to end at President Obama’s high-priced fundraiser at the midtown Sheraton.

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It was heartening– and a bit surprising– to see a large, upbeat group of OWS protesters coming together to chant and beat drums. Since Mayor Bloomberg ended the occupation of Zuccotti Park, I hadn’t heard much about the local OWS movement and assumed it was floundering.

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I took several photos of the march on my iPhone before ducking into an Indian threading salon south of the park. (Even the 99% have beauty needs). When I came back about 5 minutes later, the last of the marchers were heading east. A lone reporter was interviewing an irate man who complained about the congestion.

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Bank of America protest

This was the second time I witnessed an Occupy Wall Street rally in Bryant Park, a popular tourist destination known for its ice skating rink and historic library.

In late October, OWS staged a protest against Bank of America but seemingly couldn’t get close to their 6th Avenue building. What looked to be a couple hundred people gathered in front of the New York Public Library instead. It seemed like half the crowd was made up of photographers, and I was one of many curiosity seekers who decided to check out the event on our lunch breaks.

The rally was marked by colorful signs and some unconventional characters; a group of costumed protesters rode down 5th Avenue on makeshift pirate ships (i.e.,  bicycles covered in cardboard).

>> Click below for a slideshow of the October 28th and November 30th protests

In a crowded, crazy city like New York, you can always count on seeing something interesting on your way home from the office!

About Leslie Koch

I'm a New Yorker with a passion for travel and art. I founded after returning from a year-long backpacking trip around the world. Find me on Twitter at @leslietravel.