As a result of the growing unrest over the poor state of the economy, the Occupy Wall Street movement has become a large, enduring and nationally recognized phenomenon, one that has already been covered extensively by the major news agencies. We here at the Compliance Exchange wanted to give our readers a firsthand account of the Occupy Wall Street protests. We hope to circumvent the filtered version of the story that is being circulated by the mainstream media, instead bringing you a truly genuine look at what is really going on. In doing so, we will strive to dispel all misinformation and false assumptions.
Leading up to our coverage of the Occupy Wall Street protests, we had many different assumptions as to what we would find when we arrived at Zuccotti Park. To our surprise, scene was not as chaotic as we initially thought it would be. Despite the fact that the park was practically overflowing with protesters, there was a tremendous amount of organization and cooperation, so much so that a veritable town had sprung up, complete with a kitchen, press area and even a bookstore. The park was also surprisingly clean. There were numerous protesters wielding brooms, mops and garbage bags to maintain sanitary conditions.
The relationship with law enforcement was, for the most part, one of mutual understanding, not hatred as some sources would have you believe. All of the protesters we talked to seemed to respect the law enforcement officials as people just doing their jobs. In fact, they even spoke of them as being part of the 99%. As for the law enforcement, the police officers were forbidden to speak to the press about the protests, so we were not able to get their side of the story. Suffice it to say that they seemed relatively relaxed. When protesters began blocking the sidewalks they would politely ask them to move. Other than that, they pretty much just stood idly by. The one officer we spoke to seemed to be in good spirits and even cracked a joke.
The protesters themselves did not seem to be as angry as we initially expected. Sure, there were certainly sentiments of anger, but there were also feelings of concern, excitement and even some humor. If there was a diversity of emotions, there was an even more pronounced diversity of demographics. One thing that was fairly universal was that everyone seemed to be fairly intelligent or at least knowledgeable. Even the more eccentric protesters had at least one or two things to say that made sense.
Perhaps the most unexpected discovery came when we spoke to a few individuals dressed in suits. These people did not seem to be part of the protests, probably just on their lunch break, so we figured they would provide a nice contrast to the protesters. Surprisingly, all three of the individuals we spoke to were in support of the movement, though they did not consider themselves to be part of it.
After our initial assessment of the situation, we began speaking to different protesters. We attempted to chat with people from all walks of life: young and old; men and women; black and white; etc. Our question for the protesters was simply, “Why are you here?” Some of the responses will astound you. You can see some of the video footage from these interviews below.
Ken Jemiolo is a contributing writer for CompliancEX and a NY based freelance writer.