Friday, October 7, 2011

Wall Street Protests Gain Visibility

Now in its third week, the Occupy Wall Street protest is steadily growing by both its amount of supporters and number of sound bites in the media.
An estimated 5000 people participated in the rally on Saturday, and the events that day on the Brooklyn Bridge were described on every major news network in the United States.
On Monday, the White House expressed tepid sympathy for the protesters. “We understand,” stated Press Secretary Jay Carney when asked about the Wall Street demonstration. “And that’s why we’re so urgently trying to focus Congress’s attention on the need to take action on the economy and job creation.”
If this movement continues to gather steam, the White House will, likely, solicit support from the Occupy Wall Street participants for initiatives like President Obama’s Jobs Act. It is unclear, however, if this mostly left-leaning movement would help or hurt Mr. Obama. While many protesters have supported him since his presidential campaign, some believe the system needs to be changed at a more fundamental level.
“I fell, just from the general conversations that have taken place, the intention is to dismantle the system,” said Charmaine Bee, a photographer from Brooklyn.
Occupy Wall Street participants have also been criticized fro targeting too many issues during their rallies. Monica Bethelwood, a musician from Albany, counters that their breadth of grievances is attracting people to the protest.
“I felt extremely drawn to this one because there isn’t a specific demand, that there isn’t just one thing we’re pissed off about, it’s everything.”
Despite prickly rhetoric coming from participants, influential groups and individuals, such as the New York Transport Workers Union and the president of the AFL-CIO, have expressed support for the demonstration.
One organization not likely to give their endorsement, however, is the New York Police Department. Confrontations between police and protesters have arisen during these events, and the police have been accused of “heavy-handed tactics.”
Although there is no planned end date to this demonstration, participants have high hopes that it will lead to an influential change. Charmaine Bee is optimistic about the future.
“I really fell like there’s power for this to stand, to sustain, and for the dialogue to continue to grow and build, and hopefully spread.”

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