Jackson Browne occupies Wall Street with song

Reuters News
Posted: Dec 01, 2011 6:03 PM

By Chris Francescani

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Musicians Jackson Browne and Third Eye Blind serenaded a small group of tourists, police, fans and Occupy Wall Street activists on Thursday in a stark contrast to the cacophonous encampment that police evicted two weeks ago.

The small, festive crowd of several dozen stood in the center of New York City's Zuccotti Park, leaning in to hear the acoustic set.

Few expressed affiliation with Occupy Wall Street, the group that drew international attention to the square-block park in Lower Manhattan with protests against alleged inequities in the U.S. economic system.

Earlier Thursday, eight AIDS activists who marked World AIDS Day were arrested at the park during what was billed as a "die-in," in which the protesters laid in the street and refused to get up.

New park rules issued after the eviction bar lying down in the park, a granite square near Wall Street and the new World Trade Center that is under reconstruction.

Browne and Third Eye Blind are among the musicians recording a benefit album for the Occupy Wall Street movement, which has sprung up in cities across the country. Lucinda Williams, Toots and the Maytals, and Yo La Tengo will also be featured on the compilation, called "Occupy This Album."

"I have seen him a million times. I absolutely love him," said Browne fan Maureen Flint, who works across the street from the park."

Curiosity seekers, police and reporters outnumbered the Occupy Wall Street protesters, who had made the park their home for nearly two months before their eviction on November 15. The eviction has led many to wonder where the flagship branch of the movement would go from here.

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"This is great," OWS activist Goldi Merhige said. "We've had very low energy here since the eviction, and it's great to see. Now they're not really here for Occupy Wall Street, but the musicians are, and that's the really important thing. If it brings in a bunch of teenagers, that's fine."

(Editing by Daniel Trotta and Jerry Norton)