Barricades on Wall Street block protest

Protest on Wall StreetPA

There are barricades on Wall Street today, keeping protestors away from the heart of America's financial district and camped in nearby Zucotti Park. The protest is not as big as organisers had hoped, but as the district returns to work this morning it could move up a gear.
Around 2,500 attended at the peak of the protest in Lower Manhatten on Saturday in response to calls from groups such as hacker collective Anonymous and anti-consumerist campaigners Adbusters. Organisers had called for 20,000 to turn out. On Sunday night, 300 were camped in the park.

The protest has been called as an expression of rage over the way the financial system favours the top 1% of the population at the expense of the rest. Websites co-ordinating the action want the protest to embed and continue, turning the location into 'America's Tahrir Square'.

Corporations

Protestors carried signs with slogans such as "Single mom, grad student, unemployed, and I paid more tax last year than GE. I am the 99 per cent" and "Dissent is patriotic". The dominance the big corporations exert over political decision-making is also a frequently expressed theme.

The protest has received little coverage in the mainstream US media, and there are accusations that social networking sites are removing tags associated with the action. Police locked down the financial district after reading of protest plans on the internet.

Generalised protest

As news of the action spreads, organisers hope more will be drawn to take part. So far this is a small action, but it's significant in that it is a protest over a general series of complaints featuring a significant proportion of young people, and similar to those which have been staged throughout Europe and the Middle East.

While there are some lofty demands and fanciful flights of revolutionary rhetoric on some of the sites co-ordinating the action, there's also a solid and well-thought through core to these protests. It's dawn now in New York and the coming days will tell what kind of awakening is occurring.

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