Though it has been over two months since the beginning of the Occupy Wall Street protests, this movement remains strong.
Occupy Wall Street is a series of demonstrations based in the Wall Street financial district. Protesters continue to rally against economic inequality and government corruption. Objectors unite themselves under the political slogan “We are the 99%.” This refers to the unequal distribution of wealth, with only 1% of the population’s income increasing. Protesters identify themselves with the other 99%.
“It’s a good cause, because [of] the fact that these people did everything they were supposed to are drowning in debt,” says senior Zoe Edwards, “However, I feel like a lot of people are getting involved because they think it’s the cool or edgy thing to do.”
Much of the controversy associated with this movement is not about the protest itself, but about police involvement in it. The police department is said to have assaulted crowds by pepper-spraying activists and using tear gas on large crowds of people. Videos taken by witnesses of these offenses have become hugely well-known, and have been featured on news programs, as well as on websites like http://www.youtube.com.
A particularly notable video clip is of Felix Rivera-Pitre, former male dancer, being punched by a police officer, even though, according to the Activist Post, he did nothing but “shoot the cop a look.” In another incident, Ari Douglas, a legal observer, claims to have been run over by a police scooter. Though police say this episode never happened, Douglas was arrested and hospitalized.
However, if the police are being brutal, they aren’t the only ones. Anarchists in Oakland have besieged a local Whole Foods. These protesters spray-painted the word “STRIKE” across one window, and shattered the other. During the attack, shoppers were forced to stay inside Whole Foods and away from the windows, as rocks and other objects were being hurled at the store.
The Occupy Wall Street movement is spreading quickly. Protesters have organized all the way across the country to form Occupy Oakland. These protests have even spread to Britain, as they agree strongly with the “We are the 99%” slogan.
The student body seems to be split on whether or not they agree with the Occupy Wall Street movement. Though Edwards has expressed her agreement with the protesters, senior Brianna Hungerford states, “I feel that Occupy Wall Street is ineffective. Having people occupy Zuccotti Park isn’t getting their point across apparently because it has already been approximately two months with little to no change.”