Politics

New York protests spread to Washington, Boston, Los Angeles

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Occupy Wall Street protesters marched on New York's Financial District on Sept 26, 2011. (Photo: Flickr user PaulS)

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Over 700 protesters from the Occupy Wall Street movement were arrested on Saturday while attempting to cross the Brooklyn Bridge. Police said the arrests were made because protesters were obstructing the roadway, though many protesters have charged that the NYPD tricked them by allowing them onto the bridge.

The movement, now in its third week, has spread from a handful of protesters in New York's Zuccotti Park to demonstrations in Boston, Washington, Denver, Los Angeles and other cities.

The protests have been gaining momentum since they began in downtown Manhattan two weeks ago. More than a few pundits have noted the leaderless movement is using Arab Spring-style tactics as their inspiration. Like the protests in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Occupy Wall Street supporters are extremely adept at using social media to spread their message.

The Occupy Wall Street camp in the Financial District's Zuccotti Park is impressively organized, with a reception area, media zone, medical clinic, library and cafeteria. But despite structure on the ground, one criticism that’s been repeatedly levied at them is their lack of unified demands. The protesters want to end greed and corruption but don’t necessarily agree as to what that means in practice.

Reginald Johns, who participated in a demonstration in Chicago, had this to say on PRI's Facebook page:

Yes, I participated in the #OccupyChicago sit in at the Federal Reserve in Chicago. Basically we are out there spreading the word and getting in the streets to bring awareness to the public. These movements around the country [are aimed at] our elected officials to bring a sense of fairness to the economic and political system. That's the whole thing. Voting doesn't work anymore so we need mass mobilizations and occupations of public spaces to discuss alternatives to the system we have in place now. This is a longterm process and will take time to catch on to the mainstream of America.

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"The Takeaway" is a national morning news program, delivering the news and analysis you need to catch up, start your day, and prepare for what's ahead. The show is a co-production of WNYC and PRI, in editorial collaboration with the BBC, The New York Times Radio, and WGBH.