While protesters in Manhattan are in their second week of Occupy Wall Street demonstrations, it wasn’t until the NYPD resorted to unprovoked acts of violence that the mainstream media caught on.
One protester, Chelsea Elliott of Brooklyn, has become almost an Internet icon since she showed up to protest big banks last week. You might not know her by name, but if you’ve logged onto YouTube in the last few days then very well might know who she is. Elliott, along with others, with maced by a New York City Police Department officer while peacefully protesting Wall Street last week.
“It took about three seconds for it to register what had happened,” Elliott told RT. “At that moment, my mind kind of went blank. I was just so confused as to why. I just fell to the ground.”
In the video uploaded to the Web, Elliott and others are shown being roped into a pen by NYPD officers rallying around the protesters. Then, suddenly, one officer approaches a handful of female demonstrators, triggers his pepper-spray and walks away.
Since the incident, it has been revealed that the officer in question is Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna, a long time veteran of the NYPD. Hacktivists with Anonymous have responded to the identification by leaking personal details pertaining to the officer to the Web in hopes that concerned citizens will voice their opposition.
To Elliott, however, it’s not just a corrupt Police Department that is at fault here. It’s the corruption between Wall Street and Washington.
“As our middle class is disappearing, so is the health and the peace of our country,” said Elliott. “Our government is incredibly corrupt. They are being paid by the very people they are supposed to be regulating and everyone is suffering.”
As more and more catch on to the suffering they are being subjected to, the number of protestors has grown. What began as a small demonstration in Lower Manhattan has accumulated thousands of participants, from concerned celebrities to middle class members miffed with the inequality in America. Now rallies have occurred across the country and dozens of similar camp-outs are being planned across the United States.
Elliott told RT that people should be outraged and not let the mainstream media pinpoint the protest as chaotic and disorganize. Everyone, she says are affected. “We are all individuals,” said Elliot.
“It is supposed to affect the entire middle class. We are all different people. We all have a dialogue about it and understand what happened and how it affects each group differently. This isn’t for one group of people. Of course they are going to make it seem like we are disorganized and chaotic.”
In the meantime, however, protestors continue to rally against Wall Street. Will anything be changed, tough? “I feel like things are going to get worse before they get better,” Elliott told RT. Speaking about the financial crisis, she said, “Most people really have no idea or understand why or what happened. They think its an accident. When in reality, it’s very wealthy and powerful corporations destroyed lives for millions and millions of people. It’s kind of hard for me to know what the future holds for us.”
“I just hope that as this group, as we build momentum, so will an understanding and awareness of the situation of our government,” she said.