A wave of public discontent in the US shows no sign of abating following weekend protests against corporate greed which saw hundreds of peaceful demonstrators arrested, sparking accusations of heavy-handed policing.
Defiant anti-Wall-Street activists are refusing to back down, saying more marches against corporate greed and social inequality are in the pipeline.
A new season in a different nation: the Arab Spring has become America’s Autumn.
And on Saturday, New York’s Brooklyn Bridge reminded many of a scene from Egypt’s Tahrir Square. Nearly 800 protesters were trapped, cuffed, arrested and jailed as thousands of activists continued their second week of “Occupy Wall Street” demonstrations.
The grassroots movement is campaigning against social inequality and corporate influence over US politics. In the interim, police conduct against peaceful protesters has been called into question.
Just last week, New York City Police attacked “Occupy Wall Street” protesters with pepper spray, prompting public outrage and an internal investigation.
“Many didn’t believe that there would be another dramatic confrontation this weekend after what happened last weekend, after four women were pepper-sprayed while they were corralled by the police, after the NYPD used heavy-handed tactics, punching some protesters,” television journalist Ryan Devereaux told RT. “I think many people didn’t expect that there would be something like that again this weekend. Though I have no reports of pepper-spraying, there were aggressive arrests and there were thousands of people stopped and hundreds arrested.”
Hundreds of activists were charged with disorderly conduct and summonsed to appear before a criminal court. By Sunday, they were back on Wall Street, determined to continue their fight against corporate domination.
“Once you are not afraid to be arrested anymore, the whole entire control of the police state disappears,” says Robert Cammiso, one of those detained. “And when that happens, there are incredible possibilities that are open to us, and suddenly you can imagine a different world and you believe you can be an agent of change.”
The group says it aims to raise national awareness and heal America’s deepening social and economic divisions. “Occupy Wall Street” describes itself as a resistance movement inspired in part by their Middle East and European counterparts.
“We can follow the lead of our brothers and sisters all over the world. The Arab Spring, in Greece, in Spain – we can see that it did send a powerful message,” “Occupy Wall Street” activist Makeba Judge explains. “Ordinary people are not going to stand for corporate greed anymore, and we’re getting up and we’re doing something about it.”
And the reason these activists are focusing on Wall Street, rather than Washington, is because they say you have to follow the money and begin where the largest campaign contributions, donations and lobby groups are coming from.
“We have corporate presidencies. We were told Obama was for change, and we got four more years of Bush again. Before that – his father, the Bush dynasty,” activist Phil Budenick explains. “Corporate greed goes all the way up to the president and this is where the artery, the main pulse of it starts – on Wall Street.”
It is true that these demonstrators have come here with a variety of different messages, but what unifies them is a growing frustration over the US economy, social inequality and corporate influence on US politics. They say if American leaders cannot act, then American citizens will take matters into their own hands to ensure ordinary people’s rights are protected.