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Marches, Sit-Ins Mark May Day in New York

Occupy Wall Street protesters march to the Bank of America headquarters in New York, May 1, 2012.

It is May Day, recognized worldwide as International Workers Day. In soggy, damp New York it promises to be a day of marches, sit-ins, and possibly confrontations between police and demonstrators.

Occupy Wall Street, labor unions and student groups announced protests in New York aimed at Wall Street, banks, and other established institutions.

The issue is economic disparity between what the demonstrators call the 99 percent versus the "1 percent" elite.

Jim Monsonis, a veteran of Occupy Wall Street and other causes, says today’s activities are important to America.

“The issue has to do with the fact a small group of individuals and corporations run this entire society, and we need to find someway, directly or indirectly, to change that pattern to reach something that approaches democracy in our society," Monsonis said.

The planning for May Day began in January. May 1 activities include marches across a bridge linking Brooklyn with Manhattan, a march led by unions to Wall Street, a bike-in that will certainly slow traffic, park sit-ins, and demonstrations in front of banks.

A band made up of 1,000 guitars will also move on Wall Street.

But Monsonis says early in the day police just about outnumber demonstrators.

"There are maybe 300 people here, there is almost as many police around," Monsonis said.

The Occupy Wall Street phenomenon began late last year in a park in lower Manhattan. After a few months police moved them out. Today, police officials say the demonstrators will be accommodated, but if they conduct unlawful activity police will move in. One protester sign reades: "If the NYPD can not stop us neither can Mother Nature."