Occupy Wall Street – Coming to a City Near You?
Occupy Tampa. Photo credit to Shanna Gillette of Sasha Rae Photo via Flickr under the Creative Commons license.
By Kathryn Knight Randolph
Occupy Wall Street is currently in its fourth week of sit-in protests. Since the inaugural protests on September 17 in New York City, Occupy Wall Street has spread to at least 1,470 cities worldwide, according to occupytogether.org. At the Occupy sites, protestors are camping out and literally occupying that physical zone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Occupy Wall Street activists are working against the “greed and corruption” of the wealthiest 1% of the country and asking for more economic equality for the 99% of the population that is working through student debt, credit card debt and mortgage problems, according to occupywallst.org.
And while the movement initially received criticism for being unorganized and lacking in any real demands, it has now caught the attention of all national and worldwide media outlets, lawmakers and President Obama. In fact, Representative Keith Ellison, who has been serving as a House representative from Minnesota since 2007, noted that as the movement has grown momentum in recent weeks, their demands are being realized loud and clear.
Ellison wrote in an article for The Huffington Post, “The Occupy movement is attracting ordinary Americans through concrete action that conveys a clear message. The message is that working Americans want Wall Street to be accountable. The message is that working Americans want a fair tax system. Americans want the Congress to pass legislation that produces jobs.”
Though Occupy Wall Street began as a peaceful protest, violence has increased recently. There have been instances of alleged police brutality, especially in New York; however, whether or not this brutality was provoked on the part of the protestors is unclear. Additionally, arrests have been made in New York as well as several other cities, like Boston, Des Moines and Portland.
Now, protestors in New York City’s Zuccotti Park, the central hub for Occupy Wall Street, are being told by Mayor Bloomberg that they must temporarily vacate the premises for cleaning purposes by Friday, October 14 at 7 a.m., according to occupywallstreet.org. Though protestors think this as an effort on Mayor Bloomberg’s part to break up the occupation, Bloomberg insists that this is at the request of the park’s owners, Brookfield Properties, according to New York Daily News.
In a letter to the city of New York, as reported by the New York Daily News, Brookfield Properties has openly complained of the Wall Street occupation, stating “that the protesters are breaking numerous laws, including “lewdness, groping, drinking and drug use” and creating “offensive odors.”"
In an interview with the New York Daily News, Deputy Mayor, Cas Halloway, said, “The last three weeks have created unsanitary conditions and considerable wear and tear on the park…The cleaning will be done in stages, and the protesters will be able to return to the areas that have been cleaned.”
As protestors in New York return to Zoccatti Park in the next few days, it can only be assumed that even more Occupy Wall Street sites will crop up both nationally and worldwide.
Do you plan on participating in any Occupy Wall Street protests? Share with us why or why not!