A look back at the rise and fall of Occupy
(AP) – A look back at the rise and fall of Occupy Wall Street, the movement against corporate greed and inequality that marks its anniversary on Monday:
Occupy Wall Street protesters first began camping in Zuccotti Park on Sept. 17, 2011. The small granite plaza near the New York Stock Exchange became a crowded encampment where protesters slept in tents, served buffet-style food to the masses and played drums into the small hours of the morning.
The group of young people who harnessed the power of a disillusioned nation were soon joined by people of all ages, with celebrities even stopping by the park on occasion. Occupiers took to the streets chanting about corporate greed and inequality, frequently holding marches and rallies, shouting: “We are the 99 percent!”
On Oct. 1, a march across the Brooklyn Bridge led to more than 700 arrests during a clash with police, garnering worldwide attention for Occupy.
Encampments sprang up in cities across the U.S. and all over the globe.
On Nov. 15, New York City police officers raided and demolished the encampment. New rules were instituted that barred protesters from bringing sleeping bags or tents back into the park.
In the weeks and months that followed, Occupy encampments in other cities were also dismantled, one by one.
The movement struggled to recover from the loss of the encampments. Without a place to gather, Occupy lost its ability to organize.
A small band of protesters spent some of the winter months living in a series of churches around Manhattan.
The movement grew too large too quickly for the organization to keep up. Without leaders or specific demands, what started as a protest against income inequality turned into an amorphous protest against everything wrong with the world.
Even before the ouster at Zuccotti Park, the movement had been plagued with noise and sanitary problems, an inability to make decisions and a widening rift between the park’s full-time residents and the movement’s power players, most of whom no longer lived in the park.
WHERE OCCUPY STANDS NOW
On Monday, protesters will converge near the New York Stock Exchange to celebrate Occupy’s anniversary, marking the first day they began camping out in Zuccotti Park. Marches and rallies will commemorate the day in more than 30 cities around the world.
Across the nation, there have been protests organized in the name of ending foreclosure, racial inequality, stop and frisk, debt: You name it, Occupy has claimed it.
Protesters opposing everything from liquor sales in Whiteclay, Neb., to illegal immigration in Birmingham, Ala., have used Occupy as a weapon to fight for their own causes. In Russia, opposition activists protesting President Vladimir Putin’s re-election to a third term have held a series of Occupy-style protests. Young “indignados” in Spain are joining unions and public servants to rally against higher taxes and cuts to public education and health care.
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