Police said 'rough her up', according to Wall Street protester
The "Occupy Wall Street" protest is gaining more attention after a violent clash with police this weekend -- one protester describes what went down.
Story from Here and Now. Listen to audio for full report.
The protest on Wall Street began on September 17 with 200 people protesting what they perceive as corporate greed run amok. Over the weekend, the group's numbers swelled to about 1,000 as they marched from the financial district to Union Square. Police officers responded by corralling demonstrators in mesh netting and forcibly arresting some participants.
Protesters say videos show that the police used excessive force. The New York Police Department say they were responding with appropriate means and that the videos have been edited.
One of the protesters caught up in the clash was Nelini Stamp. "I was knocked down by an officer," she told Here and Now. "I was worried because I heard a group of officers saying to a girl who was detained, 'rough her up.'"
For now, the group is hard to pin down. "We do not have a list of demands, but we have a process," Stamp explains. "We want to show the world that true democracy can be attained. We are evolving our message every day to be inclusive to all people who feel that they are the 99 percent... the lower, the middle, class of the States who don't own 60 percent of the wealth as the top 1 percent does."
The protests began as "a bunch of different groups who were fed up with the problems that they face – fed up with debt, fed up with not having a roof over their head or food on their table," Stamp explains. "So it wasn't just one organization or another, it was just a bunch of concerned people and organizations that came together in the general assembly" -- a meeting place for the protesters.
Some have accused the protesters of being too disjointed, and not having a coherent message. As evidence they point to the fact that the protests are not bigger. But Stamp says, "It is tough to come out and stay out when you're thinking immediately about living paycheck to paycheck."
At the same time, she points out that "in the last 12 days that we've been out there, we've seen our numbers grow by 10-fold. We've been giving out free food, we've been inviting the homeless in, and we've got a lot more organizations who are showing their support. We believe that by next week we are going to grow by a lot, our numbers are going to triple."
View a video of one of the protest clashes below:
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