On the one-year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement, dozens of protesters were arrested as they attempted to block streets in New York’s financial district. Police have reported 146 arrests so far.
As many as 1,000 protesters came to New York city’s financial district to march, chant, and rally for their cause. Some dressed in suits to blend in with those who work in the area and, if possible, disrupt Wall Street. One of the actions planned for Monday was a “human wall” around the stock exchange, preventing workers from entering or leaving. But NYPD set up their own perimeter around the stock exchange and refused to allow protesters access.
Occupiers attempted to block streets and intersections and were arrested when they did so. Video shows police and protesters jostling for space in order to make arrests. Dozens of cameras surround the action waiting to record whatever street drama the Occupiers created.
The Occupy movement takes pride in the number of arrests connected to its activities. An official tally shows roughly 7,500 people connected to the movement have been arrested since last September. The tally does show a certain grim determination, but it’s not clear what has been accomplished by all that activity other than an increase in overtime for police around the country.
Will the movement be re-ignited by this anniversary? Possibly, but the track record of the movement suggests interest has gradually waned since police raided the encampments last November. An attempt to jump-start Occupy on May 1st of 2012 fizzled. Protests at the RNC and DNC convention were much smaller than expected.
The Occupy movement has always run on outrage. Initially it was directed at Wall Street and banks, but over time much of the rage was re-directed toward police misbehavior. It’s in the street scuffles with cops that Occupy gets most of its sympathetic media visibility.
Oakland became the movement’s second home after a riot involving armed police using bean bag rounds and flash bang grenades. Weekly “F*** the police” marches are still held by a remnant of Occupiers there, long after Occupiers in the rest of the country have gone quiet.
If Occupy can generate some fresh outrage over police behavior today, they may gain traction for a few days or weeks, but it’s unlikely to last. Winter is once again coming, and urban police forces are now enforcing rules about overnight camping that were ignored last year.
The movement also has an unsavory track record of crimes which make the media a little more hesitant about praising them. Just this weekend police charged a man who was involved with OWS with two counts of rape and one count of attempted murder.
“Occupy Unmasked,” a film featuring Andrew Breitbart and several other members of Breitbart News, will be opening in select theaters around the country this Friday.