Thousands of activists descended on Wall Street this past weekend as part of the #OccupyWallStreet protest organized by the group Adbusters. While the turnout was considerably lower than the projected 20,000 protesters Adbusters originally hoped would come to the event, hundreds of individuals are still participating in the occupation—not of Wall Street, per se, but of nearby Zuccotti Park.
Formerly (and perhaps more aptly) named Liberty Park, the plaza has become home to the activists and the center point of an increasingly bitter standoff between protesters and police. In total, twelve individuals have been arrested, one having suffered a leg injury during the arrest. Activists accuse the police of being too aggressive, and videos have begun to appear online showing the behavior in question.
In the video posted below, officers are shown filming protesters, cuffing them and dragging them across the asphalt, while one young man screams that he can’t breathe and needs his inhaler. The onlookers shout at the police, saying “Shame” and calling them “cowards.”
While the overall attendance was much lower than original projections, and the ultimate occupation has dwindled even further, those protesters who remain in Zuccotti Park have been very effective at utilizing social media (particularly the hashtag #OccupyWallStreet) to spread their message.
Outcry erupted yesterday when it became apparent that Yahoo was censoring e-mails that contained references to the Occupy Wall Street protest. A sender would receive a message that there was “suspicious activity” detected on their account when they tried to send a message relating to the event. Yahoo later responded, saying the culprit was an overzealous spam filter.
The occupation has also attracted the attention of celebrity activists like Roseanne Barr and Michael Moore. Barr recently visited the protesters to offer words of encouragement.
During his appearance on The Rachel Maddow Show, Moore wondered aloud why hundreds being arrested in front of the White House while protesting the tarsands pipeline, and thousands protesting the behavior of Wall Street, don’t make the nightly news.
Meanwhile, the Rev. Jesse Jackson expressed his support for the protests on Democracy Now!—adding, “We bailed out the banks,” and that the country is misallocating funds “in the four wars,” the “corporations not paying their share of taxes” and “in the banks.”
If a protest is considered a success based on whether its revolutionary spirit proves contagious, then Occupy Wall Street may indeed become a triumph in the long run. The event’s official website recently announced that a similar protest is now being planned in Los Angeles.