Protesters Occupy Wall Street
September 20, 2011 by Sam Rolley
About 1,000 people gathered on Wall Street Saturday afternoon to protest bank bailouts and corporate favoritism, according to the International Business Times.
By Sunday, between 300 and 400 people hung around Chase Manhattan Plaza for a protest dubbed “#OccupyWallStreet.” An additional group of people marched uptown on Broadway with signs reading “end corporate welfare” and “we are too big to fail” and others denouncing capitalism.
The protest was originally organized by Adbusters magazine as a call to end political favoritism for bankers and corporations; it was referred to by organizers as a “Tahrir Square moment for America.”
Organizers characterized the event as follows:
The group is mainly young, with a tendency toward black T-shirts, bicycles, and hand-rolled cigarettes. A few have accents from Spain and Greece, through which they share stories from this year’s uprisings in those countries. They vary in their levels of experience with the modified-consensus process that the Assembly employs—together with its concomitant courtesies, no-nos, and hand signals. There are those who have never done anything like this before, and then those who are coming freshly-inspired and well-rehearsed from taking part in the three-week Bloombergville encampment earlier in the summer. There’s a contingent from the LaRouchePAC, and there’s a big, bearded man in the back who, against the wishes of some, keeps snapping photos. A police car cruises by from time to time, but it doesn’t stop. Their stories are ordinary, but in a charmed sort of way. One regular at the Assembly moved to New York from North Dakota on a whim, and without a job, a few months ago after finishing a master’s degree and breaking up with his girlfriend; almost immediately he found out about September 17 and has been working on the Arts & Culture Committee full-time. Another is a filmmaker who has just been in Egypt interviewing the leaders of the Tahrir Square protests. Yet another is a Vietnam vet from Staten Island with a sagely smile. Still others drift by through the park, stop to listen, and then keep walking, or stay.
Many young people were involved in the protest. While it did not reach the height of protests recently witnessed in Europe, it has raised concerns that the current economic crises in the U.S. could spark such violence.