Occupy Wall Street Continues
New York officials’ most recent efforts to dissuade the month-long protest that has donned the name ‘Occupy Wall Street’ wasthwarted Friday morning.
Brookfield Properties, who owns Zuccotti Park (the hub formerly known as Liberty Plaza where protestors have been ‘occupying wall street’ since Sept. 17), announced Thursday afternoon a cleaning of Zuccotti Park on Friday morning. However, the cleanup was called off and a confrontation avoided when it was made obvious that the protestors would not be so easily shooed away.
“I did not come here to look for a fight,” said one of the protestors, Steve Sachs of Hightstown, N.J. “I’ve never been in a fight in my life. I’ve never been arrested. But I was ready to be arrested over this.”
Many of the protestors were worried that the planned cleaning was a pretext for evicting them from their encampment. At least 14 anti-Wall Street demonstrators were arrested, police said.
The movement started with Candian activist group known as Adbusters, best known for its advertisement-free anti-consumerist platitudes. In their magazine of the same name, the group had proposed in mid-July a peaceful occupation of Wall Street, “the financial Gomorrah of America,” to protest corporate influence on democracy, address a growing disparity in wealth and the absence of legal repercussions behind the recent global financial crisis.
What started as a call to action snowballed quickly into what it is today –an ongoing series of demonstrations in the lower Manhattan area (and spreading), spawned and fueled by an array of social media outlets like Twitter feeds and Youtube videos. Many are likening The Occupy Wall Street movement to the Tahrir Square protests in Cairo, which initiated the 2011 Egyptian revolution and continues to this day.
Similar demonstrations -though to a much lesser extent -have sprouted in over 70 other cities. In San Diego, a man was arrested Friday morning after refusing police orders to leave his encampment near San Diego City Hall. About 100 other protestors had joined him in a week-old protest dubbed “Occupy San Diego.”
Sally Kohn, founder and Chief Education Officer of the Movement Vision Lab, a grassroots think tank, responds to critics who say the protestors don’t have a policy agendas with: “The key isn’t what protestors are for but rather what they’re against –the gaping inequality that has poisoned our economy, our politics and our nation.”
While no one can really say when conditions will get better for Occupy Wall Street protestors any more than they could say it of the cracks in Wall Street itself, one thing is certain of both after the park cleaning was postponed Friday morning–they aren’t going anywhere.
Images by _PaulS_ and david_shankbone via Flickr.