More than 100 people were arrested as Occupy Wall Street celebrated its one-year anniversary with a day of demonstrations that failed to produce the same turnout or fervor that propelled the movement into a national conversation last September.
The demonstration in front of the New York Stock Exchange on Monday attracted about 1,000 activists, with the turnout highlighting the challenge the movement has faced in trying to sustain interest in protesting against what they believe is an unfair economicc system, reports Reuters.
The New York Police Department set up a broad perimeter to block access to the New York Stock Exchange by non exchange workers, and the department stated that it had arrested about 124 demonstrators by midday on Monday.
Police also patrolled outside major banks and government buildings, also guarding Wall Street’s landmark Charging Bull. One protester, Caleb Maupin, 24, of Queens, stated:
“A lot of media is saying that Occupy is dying down, but I think the fact that over 100 people were arrested this morning shows that Occupy is still part of the conversation. We’ve been locked out, people my age don’t have much chance of getting a job, so we have to do something to get people’s attention.”
NBC News notes that two other protesters, Kim Fraczek, 37, and Erik McGregor, 44 wore Obama and Romney masks, hoping to show that both presidential candidates are controlled by money. Fraczek stated:
“We’re just at year one. We have a really big mountain to climb. But we’re hoping to get the power back to the people. In our bipartisan system, when the two candidates for presidency are doing everything to kneel down to the corporations and banks and turn against the people, it doesn’t matter who you vote for, because the war machine will continue.”
Early morning protests and marches on Monday were marked with festive cheer as demonstrators threw confetti and glitter, while carrying balloons and singing “Happy Birthday.”