Wall Street protesters: We won't go
Published 02/10/2011 | 04:32
Protesters who have been camping out in Manhattan's Financial District for more than two weeks say they have no intention of giving up, following mass arrests at the weekend.
The protesters, who eat donated food, keep their laptops running with a portable gas-powered generator, have their own newspaper - the Occupied Wall Street Journal - and a makeshift hospital, have been growing in numbers, getting more organised and showing no signs of quitting.
They lack a clear objective, but speak against corporate greed, social inequality, global climate change and other concerns.
New York City officials "thought we were going to leave and we haven't left", 19-year-old Kira Moyer-Sims said. "We're going to stay as long as we can."
The arrests of more than 700 people on Saturday as thousands tried to cross the Brooklyn Bridge seemed to pour oil on the rage of those who camped out overnight in Zuccotti Park, a private plaza off Broadway, near Wall Street.
The growing, cross-country movement "signals a shift in consciousness", said Jared Schy, a young man sitting squeezed between three others who participated in Saturday's march from the Financial District to the bridge.
"We don't care whether mainstream media covers this or people see us on television. What counts are the more than 30,000 viewers following our online live stream," he said. "We heard from a lot of them, and they're joining us now."
The Occupy Wall Street demonstration started out last month with fewer than a dozen college students spending days and nights in Zuccotti Park. It has grown significantly, both in New York City and elsewhere as people across the US, from Boston to Los Angeles, display their solidarity in similar protests.
Ms Moyer-Sims, of Oregon, said the group had grown much more organised. "We have a protocol for most things," she said, including getting legal help for people who are arrested.
Gatherings elsewhere included one in Providence, Rhode Island, that attracted about 60 people to a public park. The participants called it a "planning meeting" and initially debated whether to allow reporters to cover it. Meanwhile, in Boston, Massachusetts, protesters set up an encampment opposite the Federal Reserve Building.