Protesters gather in downtown Manhattan for Occupy Wall Street anniversary
Four years ago protesters occupied Zuccotti Park in Manhattan to rally against “the one percent”. From there, the Occupy movement spread across the globe. On the anniversary, protesters are coming back.
Preemptive barricades have been reportedly set up on the streets surrounding Zuccotti Park.
The Twitter account @OccupyWallStNYC, which is followed by almost 200,000 users, asked its followers to gather for the anniversary on Thursday evening.
The original protests were largely a product of the 2008 financial crisis, which saw the government bail out corporations with billions of dollars of taxpayer money. However, much of the “99 percent” felt left out. Some 2.6 million jobs were lost, and several Americans had their homes foreclosed.
On September 24, 2011, only a week after the demonstrations began, a group of predominantly-female protesters were penned in by police with nets and then pepper sprayed by an officer.
The videos of the incident went viral and led to an increased national interest in Occupy Wall Street, spreading it to other cities like Boston. The sprayed protesters received a settlement from New York City in July 2015 totaling over $300,000.
Only about a week after that, police arrested over 700 people marching Brooklyn Bridge into Brooklyn. The arrests came only a day after New Yorkers took the streets to protest police brutality.
The total cost of the police crackdown on the movement over four years reached $1.5 million, according to International Business Times. The money has gone to payouts in 80 lawsuits, with dozens more yet to be settled.
Although the heyday of the movement is over, the spirit of Occupy Wall Street may have been reborn in the presidential campaign of self-proclaimed socialist Bernie Sanders. Beyond the familiar rhetoric about “the 99 percent,” his platform largely overlaps with the demands of the Occupy movement, such as addressing money in politics and instituting a generous national minimum wage.