The Other 99 Per Cent: Wall Street Protests

Some commotion has been going on in the symbolic streets of the Financial District: For the past three weeks several individuals have grouped themselves together and started a one-on-one demonstration against the fiscal system of America. Within the chaos I saw people swinging signs such as “Break up the banks: Bail out the people” and “The 99 % will not be silent.” While walking past Trinity Place yesterday, I witnessed rows of cops getting ready to offer protection, silent the crowds, and shove some extra handcuffing devices into their pockets. While they galloped away in a disciplined group, other people stared at them in an evil way. Once I heard a man hiss something mean to a standing cop and then run away, the officer glaring after him.

I kept my distance while following the parade of blue uniforms until I entered the main demonstration zone: Entire Wall Street was drowned in masses of people standing on a square or marching around the a few blocks, waving their ideas in front of them as if to justify the commotion.

At first I stood in the still crowd, trying to hear what the chorus was saying. There were workers of the NY mass transit rebelling against banks, as far as I could tell. A common idea was to chant with them when they repeated their rhyme and then throw your fist up in the air at a certain point. Various folks were standing in line to voice their opinions, so I am sure NY mass transit was not the last to speak Wednesday evening.

Then I pushed my way out of the mad groups towards Fulton Street, at which point I landed in the moving crowd: Students, homeless, unemployed, families, even business-suit people forming an open group marching throw the streets, yelling out phrases such as: “Occupy Wall Street, All Day All Week!” and holding up signs stating they are the 99 per cent (who have suffered). I had the feeling that the better dressed individuals had sporadically joined the mass simply after work.

There I stood, next to other curious bystanders and gawkers, fascinated by the turmoil, surprised by the force that had overtaken the people, and stunned when thinking about the length of it. It seemed to be never-ending, this demonstration, and when I finally was able to part from this chaotic spectacle, I walked two blocks over to the closest train station and still witnessed more and more people standing in line to join the walking chanters.

The protests have already been going on for well over three weeks, as they started with simple college students stating their opinions on how they couldn’t find a job after the economy crisis (Where was I? Oh, maybe still in Europe!). Then a wider group of unemployed joined them until now companies from all over the States are sending out their New York-based former employees to Wall Street to demonstrate with the mass. News coverage should have spread all over the world by now, and the bankers should be scared to death. As it has turned out, New York was only the beginning. Demonstrations have infected DC (not surprisingly, when considering the small distance in between these two cities) and bigger cities in the Midwest. The next thing we know the entire country will be under this spell and voice anti-capitalist ideas. Now if they could just come up with some proper solutions to the “problem,” even better.

I have no idea how people working in those streets manage to circumvent these obstacles every day, maybe their offices are temporarily closed. It’s a big amount of pushing, squeezing and hustling through the crowd to get through it. Cameras are flashed everywhere and the police force is doing their 24h/7 duty.
Let’s see for how much longer this will be going on!

For more pictures, visit A Picture Every Day.