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Mon September 17, 2012
Occupy Wall Street Marks One-Year Anniversary; More Than 100 Arrested
The one-year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement brought rallies and arrests Monday, as protesters marched in New York and other cities. More than 100 arrests were reported in New York, where activists marched near the city's stock exchange.
In Manhattan, protesters who support the grass-roots movement "came bearing birthday balloons, confetti, and a slew of slogans excoriating everything from Wall Street bailouts and fracking to campaign finance laws and student debt," report Stephen Nessen and Brigid Bergin of WNYC.
As of 4 p.m., nearly 150 protesters had been arrested in New York, NBC News reports.
While some protesters told WNYC that they were prepared to be arrested, others said they merely wanted to celebrate the Occupy movement's anniversary. Police effectively kept groups from banding into a large crowd.
"Police are in force and have barricaded streets around Wall Street," the CBC's David Common reports. "If you aren't in a suit, [there's] no chance [of] getting past the barricade."
Organizers gathered a crowd at Bowling Green, home of the charging bull statue that is an icon of Wall Street. There, they sang "Happy Birthday" in honor of some insiders are calling an "occu-versary."
Protesters were later told to meet at Zuccotti Park, where the movement's main camp in downtown Manhattan was dismantled last November. Other than New York, Occupy groups in cities from Toronto to San Francisco held rallies to mark the one-year occasion.
Monday's turnout in New York wasn't nearly as large as the 2011 protest that helped the Occupy movement spread to other cities in America and worldwide, as thousands of people gathered to protest income inequality and blamed banks and politicians for coddling corporations and the top "1 percent," referring to the wealthiest citizens.
Since then, income inequality hasn't gotten any better, says The Atlantic's Jordan Weissmann. Citing new data from the U.S. Census Bureau, he writes, "From 2010 to 2011, the top 5 percent of U.S. households upped their share of the country's income by 5.3 percent. The top 20 percent got a 1.6 percent bump. And while the country's poorest saw their piece of the pie grow by a smidgen, the middle classes lost ground."
On its anniversary, the Occupy Wall Street Twitter feed featured a mix of messages of support along with simple congratulations and shout-outs to groups who were gathering in San Francisco and other cities.
As NPR's Corey Dade reported recently, the Occupy movement is struggling to reorganize itself — and to prove that it can bring about change as it matures into what many call Occupy 2.0.