‘Occupy Wall Street’ Protesters Mark One Month In Zuccotti Park
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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — “Occupy Wall Street” protesters were celebrating their month-long occupation of Zuccotti Park on Monday.
Amongst themselves, they’ve renamed Zuccotti Park “Liberty Square.”
A message on the Occupy Wall Street organizing website touts what they see as their accomplishments: Spreading the their protest globally, becoming more demographically diverse, gaining support in the U.S. heartland and changing the national dialogue.
“What a month, and we are only getting started!” reads a message on the site.
1010 WINS’ Terry Sheridan with proud protesters
Demonstrator Buddy Bolton has been in Zuccotti Park since the beginning. He told 1010 WINS’ Terry Sheridan the protesters knew they were going to touch a nerve, but never imagined their movement would grow as big as it has.
“It’s been one of the most wildly gratifying experiences of my life,” Bolton said. “It hits so close to home, it feels so patriotic. It feels like the most patriotic thing you could do, short of participating in combat for our country.”
The movement seems to have no signs of slowing down. They’re planning to join in on a protest at Lincoln Center Tuesday, and will demonstrate against police brutality Saturday.
WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported that some protesters said they were settling in for winter.
WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond In Zuccotti Park
A frequent criticism of the demonstration is its lack of clear demands or goals. A message on their website suggests that goals may be coming into greater focus.
“[Occupy Wall Street] is fighting back against the corrosive power of major banks and multinational corporations over the democratic process, and the role of Wall Street in creating an economic collapse that has caused the greatest recession in generations,” says the message.
But one thing is for sure, according to the latest Quinnipiac poll, a lot of New Yorkers understand why they’re here, reports CBS 2’s Don Dahler. By a 3 to 1 margin, 67 to 23 percent, voters agree with the views expressed by protestors. And approve of the demonstrations.
“It shows that our message is resonating with the wider community, that we can no longer be written off as some sort of fringe group,” said protester Mark Bray of Jersey City.
According to the poll, more Democrats support what’s happening down here than Republicans, reports Dahler. That probably won’t surprise you, but what may is that a very large majority of both Democrats and Republicans support the demonstraters’ right to be here protesting and they say they should be allowed to continue as long as they want.
Even New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie said he gets it.
“While philosophically I don’t agree with what they’re advocating at all, I do understand that their protests are an outgrowth of a real concern about the dysfunction of our government.
As far as the Tuesday plan at Lincoln Center goes, the gathering is set to meet at 7 p.m. at the iconic fountain there. The organizers of that particular protest is the “Granny Peace Brigade.” The group is calling for a “silent vigil” to protest ongoing U.S. military operations overseas among other issues.
It’s not the first time the Occupy Wall Street protesters have taken their show on the road, even though it is their first visit to the Upper West Side. Last Tuesday, they held a “Millionaire’s March” on the Upper East Side, targeting the homes of some of the wealthiest. They protested outside of the homes of billionaires Rupert Murdoch and JPMorganChase CEO Jamie Dimon, amongst others. They’ve also protested in Brooklyn, at the headquarters of JPMorganChase and this weekend held their largest gathering yet in Times Square.
This coming weekend’s planned demonstration is against police brutality, and is part of a demonstration taking place across the country. The march will begin at 2 p.m. in Union Square.
WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell With Mayor Bloomberg
The protests are not only generating a lot of attention, but they are also costing the city a lot of money. Through the first month, the police department has spent nearly $3.5 million in overtime.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said it is especially difficult when the city is facing painful budget cuts.
“It would mean $3.5 million less we have to cut for the second half of this year or next year,” he said.
Bloomberg said that it was up to Brookfield Properties, which owns Zuccotti Park, to decide what to do next. He added that the city will protect the rights of the owner and those who want to protest.
1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks With More On Bloomberg’s Thoughts
“I’ve said I’m 100 percent in favor of protecting the…thousand percent in favor of giving people rights to say things, but also, we have to protect those who don’t want to say anything. And so, you can’t have a place where only one point of view is allowed,” Bloomberg said.
The mayor says demonstrators certainly have their right to protest, but the 1st Amendment does not give them carte blanche.
“Constitution doesn’t protect tents. It protects speech and assembly,” said Bloomberg, who added that he has heard nothing new from the parks owner about its position on the occupation.
Bloomberg’s girlfriend, Diana Taylor, is on the board of Brookfield Properties. The mayor was asked if they’ve discussed the demonstrations.
“I can tell you that pillow talk in our house is not about Brookfield or Occupy Wall Street,” answered the mayor.
What do you make of the Occupy Wall Street demonstration? Sound off in our comments section.