Protesters Begin Effort to ‘Occupy Wall Street’
ABC News’ Candace Smith reports:
Protesters are gathering on Wall Street today in a movement they call “Occupy Wall Street.”
As of noon, hundreds of protesters gathered at Bowling Green Park in Manhattan, home of the iconic charging bull in New York’s Financial District as they prepare to “take the bull by the horns,” as said on a flyer advertising the event.
“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%,” said a statement on the website Occupy Wall Street.
According to statements on the website, the movement, an offshoot of online magazine AdBusters, is angered by what it calls the principle of “profit over and above all else,” which it says has dominated not only America’s economic policies, but also the way in which Americans view culture and humanity.
Posts on the website compare the group’s efforts to those used in pro-democracy movements across the Middle East, dubbed the Arab Spring.
“On the 17th of September, we want to see 20,000 people to flood into lower Manhattan, set up beds, kitchens, peaceful barricades and occupy Wall Street for a few months,” one statement says. “Like our brothers and sisters in Egypt, Greece, Spain, and Iceland, we plan to use the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic of mass occupation to restore democracy in America. We also encourage the use of nonviolence to achieve our ends and maximize the safety of all participants.”
Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne of the NYPD told ABC News that a protest area was established on Broad Street at Exchange Place, next to the Stock Exchange, but protesters elected not to use it and no one associated with the demonstrations sought a permit.
As of late afternoon, two people had been taken into custody after wearing bandanas that covered their faces, he said. It is a crime for two or more people in a group to have their faces covered.
A group of seven individuals with walkie-talkies under their clothing — three of whom were also wearing body armor or bullet-resistant vests — were questioned and released, he said.
But police say that many protesters have been compliant, heeding officers’ request to not block roadways and sidewalks especially after being informed that they would be faced with arrest should they stay.
As has become the norm of such protests, this movement has been fueled by social media fire, with supporters taking to Twitter under the hash tag #occupywallstreet. The major hacking group Anonymous has also thrown in its support, live streaming the day’s events.
The protest has also generated some celebrity support. Hip-hop artist Lupe Fiasco, known for his criticism of President Obama, joined in with protesters. After tweeting his support, Fiasco responded to a tweet by ABC News asking if he was at the park by saying, “We Out Chea!!!”