Occupy Wall Street is a movement that started on 17th September 2011. It began as a protest in New York City at the Zuccotti Park. The movement has lived up to date and acts as an inspiration to lots of activists in the United States. After its kick off in New York, it spread rapidly to other cities such as Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles amongst others. The movement was brought about by a group of activists who were determined to fight the vast gap between the wealthy and the poor, corporate greed and social inequality in the US.
Their main protest slogan was, “we’re the 99%”. It meant that they were the ordinary citizens who were suffering under the oppression of the 1% population who are the wealthy and those in power. The movement conducted demonstrations at Zuccotti Park for twelve days. They strategically picked that location due to its proximity to the World Trade Centre.
However, the protests at Zuccotti Park were not giving them the attention they required. On September 24th of 2011, they began marching to Liberty Street and Broadway, then finally to Union Square. It led to the arrest of more than sixty protesters who were charged with a variety of minor offenses. During that period, there were reports of the police using excessive force. For example, there was a story in the media of some young ladies that were pepper-sprayed during the commotion. This act was received with a lot of negative reactions.
The arrests, other than calming the protest, only aggravated it more. Similar protests began emerging in other cities. It started in Boston, then Chicago to San Francisco. It was a leaderless movement comprising of a group of people with utter determination to fight for their rights.
The movement grew drastically and on October 1st 2011, more than 600 people were arrested near the Brooklyn Bridge. Four days later, a group of union workers joined the Occupy Wall Street protesters and marched around the city of New York. Things got out of hand ten days later when rallies were held in more than 800 cities worldwide. It spread from the US to other countries such as France, Japan, and Australia amongst other countries.
On date 25th of October, a group of Occupy Wall Street activists incurred injuries when the police intervened a demonstration at Frank Ogawa Park in Oakland. A week later, still in Oakland. The protests turned violent. Windows were broken, and walls were sprayed with Occupy Wall Street Slogans. Several arrests were made.
Occupy Wall Street camps were closed down mainly because of public safety. As a result, the activists moved to colleges such as Harvard and the University of California. Its spread to campus led to the rise of other demands such as reduction in tuition fee.
The movement continued in 2012 and on their one year anniversary in 17th September 2012. The movement attempted to block access to the New York Stock exchange. More than a hundred arrests were made. The movement was still active in 2012.
What Happened To Occupy Wall Street?
The protests began dying down slowly, and most of them moved to online platforms. However, their cries for equality and corporate greed were heard by the whole world. The higher minimum wage of $15 an hour is regarded as one of the victories of Occupy Wall Street.