ABC News’ Dennis Powell reports:
Protesters camped out and arrested in New York as part of the “Occupy Wall Street” movement have started a small brushfire of support online and in towns across America and the world. Similar, but much smaller, groups are now planning similar occupations from Washington, D.C., to Fargo, N.D.
The in-person protests can be small and symbolic. But organizers are using Facebook and Twitter to mobilize a movement with rallying cries like this one from the mid ’70s satirical movie Network:
“I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore! #OccupyBaltimore #OccupyWallStreet #OccupyPhily #OccupyDC” tweeted @ultimatemeaning, a self-described Baltimorean.
Demonstrators are gathering in city squares and parks like Washington, D.C.’s McPherson Square, joining OccupyDC’s noontime meeting.
“Fifteen of us holding ground here at #occupydc! Come to 15th and K for a taste of revolution on your lunchbreak!,” tweeted @growinglotus.
That particular request, which sounded as much like an ad for a lunch truck, did not lead to a wave of support; early in the lunchtime hour, there were about a dozen protesters.
The group didn’t seem fazed by the poor showing and they also didn’t seem to have much of an agenda. So why did they show up?
Behind each of those twitter handles is an actual human being tweeting. One of the participants in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, Michael Bales, said he’s tired of the influence corporations have over politics. He said this “is a people’s movement to declare that we are the 99 percent, the 99 percent of us that don’t have a billion dollars and corporate jets to fly all over the world, the 99 percent that have been deprived of a voice in our political and economic process in this country, and our goal is to get the people out to express their voice and have a part in this democracy.”
A quick search on Twitter or Facebook will show you that there are dozens of Occupy organizations around the country. There’s OccupyFargo, OccupyOKC, OccupyCleveland, OccupyMadison, OccupyLA, OccupySacramento, OccupyBaltimore. The list goes on and on.
OccupyWallStreet has over 80,000 “likes” on Facebook, whereas OccupyDC has only 1,800 “likes.” But they are optimistic.
“It’s always quiet before the storm, McPherson Square might not be buzzing, but wait until Oct. 6 at Freedom Plaza #occupyDC,” tweeted @occupywashdc.
The movement has a ways to go before it echoes the Arab Spring, the social-media-fueled revolution cited by many of the American occupiers that swept across the Middle East and led to regime changes in Egypt and Tunisia.