Hundreds of demonstrators gathered on Wall Street and elsewhere in lower Manhattan Saturday to protest the influence of money in U.S. politics and decry what they perceive to be the injustices of the financial system.

The mostly peaceful protest, called "Occupy Wall Street," was spearheaded by the activist magazine Adbusters and promoted through Twitter, Facebook and other social media networks. Organizers have said the protests are modeled on the "Arab Spring" wave of uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and elsewhere.

By Saturday morning, the New York City Police Department had taken action to prevent protesters from wreaking havoc by blocking off sections of Wall Street, including the famous bull statue where demonstrators had planned to rally, CNN said.

In a statement, the NYPD said they created a protest area next to the New York Stock Exchange, but the demonstrators "elected not to use it."

The NYPD said the group that formed at the Wall Street bull was blocking traffic and also noted that no one associated with the demonstrations had sought permits.

Demonstrators also gathered off Wall Street, with some performing yoga and tai chi in Bowling Green Park, CNN reported.