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Occupy Wall Street

26th September 2011

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As I write this, on the streets of New York in the heart of the financial district, protesters line the streets in opposition to the financial tycoons that have stolen their futures.

Occupy Wall StreetLabelled as ‘over-educated’ and ‘under-employed’, the protesters say that they can “no longer afford to let corporate greed and corrupt politics set the policies of our nation.”

On Saturday 17th September, an estimated 5,000 people gathered in downtown New York on Wall Street, calling themselves “The 99%” that will “no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%.”

Despite a constant presence by the New York Police Department, the occupiers have been holding fast for the last week, although police have been accused of using heavy-handed tactics.

Disturbing footage of police officers rounding up a group of non-violent female protesters before spraying them in the face with pepperspray has emerged on YouTube.

Many who have watched the footage have been reminded of the kettling tactics used by the Metropolitan Police in last year’s riots over the increase in tuition fees.

Other images and footage that has emerged shows police officers pulling protesters by their hair, throwing a man face-first towards the ground, and aggressively pushing men and women supposedly for blocking traffic.

And the media haven’t exactly been spared either. Marissa Homes, a member of the OccupyWallStreet resistance group who was filming a LiveStream feed of the protests was arrested for filming arrests. Reports have also surfaced that a team of police destroyed laptops and cameras that were being used to broadcast the protest over the internet.

Some have argued that comments made last week by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg may have catalysed the protests.

 “You have a lot of kids graduating college who can’t find jobs. That’s what happened in Cairo. That’s what happened in Madrid. You don’t want those kind of riots here.”

Some people are of the opinion that Bloomberg’s rhetoric may be a not-so-subtle poke in Washington’s general direction to create a much-needed jobs bill.

However, whilst many do not believe a successful comparison can be made between the Wall Street riots and the Arab Spring, David Graeber, 50, a social anthropologist from London’s Goldsmith’s College who is currently in New York and was involved in the facilitation of the protest , specified the Tahrir Square freedom protests in Egypt as inspiration for the campaign, according to the Guardian.

“The message we’re trying to get out is that the political system is not even trying to propose solutions to our problems. They have thrown in the towel. Who is here? Young people and students with college debts. They want to talk to the people who took away their future.”

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