(Photo: REUTERS/Eric Thayer)
Protesters gathered in Lower Manhattan Sunday for day two of what some are calling the “United States Day of Rage” and “Occupy Wall Street.” Thousands have vowed to “occupy" Wall Street for days and say they have no plans to leave anytime soon.
Some of those sitting in the streets vowed to stay on Wall Street as long as it takes to make their point that they will “no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1 percent.”
Protesters began descending on Wall Street on Saturday for a peaceful, “Gandhi-like” rally to express anger over a financially rich system that favors the wealthy and powerful at the expense of the average citizen.
For months, protesters have been planning the peaceful protest, which is being organized by activist magazine Adbusters.
Thousands arranged to meet and discuss their goals at the iconic Wall Street Bull statue. Messages were sent out via Twitter and Facebook saying “See you at the Bull.”
The idea, according to some organizers, was to camp out for weeks - or even months - to replicate the kind of protests that erupted earlier this year in places like Egypt, Spain, Israel and other places in the Middle East, which were held in the name of "Arab Spring."
Saturday’s occupation started with peaceful rallies at Bowling Green Park, the Bull and One Chase Manhattan Plaza. “We will continue until our one demand is agreed upon by all,” Adbusters said on its website.
Social media was used to spread the message to thousands of “Culture Jammers,” the term Adbusters gave the new activists joining the event.
One message from Adbusters read, “A leaked bulletin from the New York Police Department reveals that they expect at least 5,000, and maybe even 20,000 people to swarm Wall Street tomorrow. That just might be enough for us to pull this off!”
Unfortunately, two snags arose over the weekend. As it turned out, the demonstrators found many of their targets were off limits on Saturday as the city shut down sections of Wall Street near the New York Stock Exchange and Federal Hall well before their arrival.
"The NYPD is aware of various protests and we have planned accordingly," Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne told CNN late Friday.
Also, the event did not meet its goal 5,000 to 20,000 protesters. Instead, 3,000 to 4,000 came to protest in the streets of New York.
“No, we do not have as many as we thought we were going to have down here, but I think we are making our point,” Anna Lindale, a protester in downtown Manhattan told The Christian Post during a telephone interview Sunday.
She likened the protest to the series of disruptive protests against the Vietnam War held in the 1960s.
“This event kind of reminds me of how America used to be. When people did not like something in the 1960s and 1970s, they stood up in masses and said so.”
When asked about the occupation, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg responded, "People have a right to protest, and if they want to protest, we’ll be happy to make sure they have locations to do it. As long as they do it where other people’s rights are respected, this is the place where people can speak their minds."
Protester Lisa Fithian said she's not part of any official group for the “occupation.”
She told The New York Times that the event is the work of many people coming together on Wall Street with the same message.
"Wall Street is certainly the heart of why we're here. It's the corporations – the big banks in this country have been destroying this country,” Fithian said.
"Overfees or high mortgages, student loans, the banks are touching every aspect of our lives,” she said. She added that banks and the wealthy have taken money for their own interests and their own survival.
“The people here are saying enough of that," Fithian said.
A recent post on Adbusters mentioned an event Obama is planning to attend tonight, which means the movement could gain momentum.
“President Obama will be in New York City at a private $38,500 per person fundraising event on Monday,” the Adbusters website reported.
“September 19th starting at 5:30 p.m. at 820 Park Avenue. Maybe we can go there and invite him to join our people's assembly?” the site read.
The Wall Street protesters have vowed to stay peaceful and hold their ground until their demands are met. They are calling for protests in other cities, worker and student strikes and the creation of similar organizations throughout the country
To view a live stream of “Occupy Wall Street” visit: http://www.adbusters.org/.