ABC News’ Erin McLaughlin reports:
Protesters who vowed to “occupy Wall Street” are holding their ground in downtown New York, and say they have no plans to leave anytime soon.
The protest started Saturday with a “Day of Rage,” when thousands of people gathered in the Financial District and vowed to stay on Wall Street as long as it takes to make their point that they will “no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%.”
Organizers have said they hoped for as many as 20,000 people to join the protests, but estimates Saturday were that the crowd peaked at around 5,000.
Although the number has dwindled since Saturday, those remaining seem to be in it for the long haul. According to tweets sent out by Occupy Wall Street, the group has blankets, food, and space heaters available for protesters.
The New York Police Department says that even though the demonstrators don’t have a permit for the protest, they have no plans to remove those protesters who seem determined to stay on the streets.
According to the Occupy Wall Street website, the effort was inspired by the lasting demonstrations of “our brothers and sisters in Egypt, Greece, Spain, and Iceland.”
Organizers of the protest told ABC station WABC-TV in New York that they are hoping the crowd will grow as the work week begins Monday. Like the protests that inspired this one, the demonstration is being fueled by social media, with supporters using the Twitter hashtag #takewallstreet to organize meetings of the so-called “General Assembly” and to advertise the effort. The event is also streaming live online.
According to a statement on the Occupy Wall Street website, supporters of the movement are angered by what they call the principle of “profit over and above all else.”
“The one thing we all have in common is that We Are The 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%,” the statement said. Demonstrators at the event echoed that sentiment.
“We want accountability on the part of the politicians as well as the corporate owners because they’re completely entangled in each other,” protester Gaia Weiss told WABC-TV.
“Officials in Washington either don’t know how to do their jobs or they’re too specific to their party to actually be progressive to America as a whole,” protester Collin Quinlivan said.
The protest comes after comments New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg made last week that some may argue seem to have forecast the event.
“You have a lot of kids graduating college who can’t find jobs. That’s what happened in Cairo. That’s what happened in Madrid. You don’t want those kind of riots here,” Bloomberg said.
For now though, the protesters have vowed to stay peaceful, and hold their ground until the changes they are demanding are met. They are calling for protests in other cities, worker and student strikes, and the creation of similar organizations throughout the country.