Entries in Occupy Wall Street (9)


US Freedom of the Press Ranked 47th in the World

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(PARIS) -- "Crackdown" was the word of the year in 2011, according to Reporters Without Borders.

The organization made the designation in its annual World Press Freedom Index, which listed the U.S. 47th in its rankings.

The U.S. was already in 27th place in terms of freedom of the press when Reporters Without Borders dropped it 20 places because of the arrest of journalists last year during the Occupy Wall Street protest.  That means the U.S. is now behind countries such as Czech Republic, Niger, El Salvador, and South Africa.

Iran, Syria and North Korea were at the bottom of the list of the 179 ranked countries, while Egypt and Bahrain also fell because of government action taken against reformers.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Oil Union Threatens to Stop Production in Nigeria

STR/AFP/Getty Images(LAGOS, Nigeria) -- Nigeria's largest oil union met with President Goodluck Jonathan on Saturday to discuss resolving the removal of the fuel subsidy which has sparked protests nationwide and in the Diaspora.
On Jan. 1 Nigeria ended a fuel subsidy, doubling gas prices from about $1.70 a gallon to $3.50 a gallon causing a ripple effect in a nation where an average citizen survives on less than $2 a day.
The Nigeria Labor Congress had threatened to stop oil production on Sunday if the government did not reinstate the fuel subsidy.
Protests, dubbed Occupy Nigeria, drew hundreds of thousands in the most populous nation. Solidarity protests have been held in London, Washington D.C., Ghana and Atlanta. In New York, a protest was held in conjunction with Occupy Wall Street, where protestors marched to the Nigeria Consulate.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Occupy London: 90% Empty at Night?

Dan Kitwood/Getty Images(LONDON) -- An analysis of images taken by a thermal camera has found that 90 percent of Occupy London tents are empty overnight, a claim the group disputed Wednesday.

The Telegraph newspaper took the images of the occupied space outside St. Paul’s Cathedral Monday at 11 p.m. Only 20 of the camp’s 200 tents appeared to have anybody inside, the newspaper reported.

Naomi Colvin, an Occupy London spokesperson, called the use of heat sensing cameras an “invasion of privacy,” and faced with the prospects of being labelled a business hours-only protest, claimed the analysis did a poor job of estimating the number of people inside the camp.

“We had at least 140 people that night,” Colvin told ABC News, noting that the group uses sign in and sign out sheets to keep track of who is inside the tent city at any given time.

Colvin contended that the encampment is consistently two-thirds full and that people share their tents with others if they know they will be gone for a night.

“These are real people with real lives and responsibilities,” Colvin said. “It’s impossible to expect someone to stay every single night, but the fact that we are here shows we are deadly serious.”

The group has been occupying the area outside St. Paul’s Cathedral since Oct. 15. The famous landmark was forced to close its doors last Friday for the first time since World War II due to what it called “health and safety concerns.”

The landmark is losing an estimated $25,000 per day in ticket sales. Many protesters have vowed to stay until the summer Olympics, which will be held in London next year.

The City of London Corporation said on its website it will hold a closed meeting this Friday to discuss possible legal avenues for evicting the protesters.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Handful of Occupy Wall Street Camps Staring Down Eviction

Scott Eells/Bloomberg/Getty Images(OAKLAND, Calif.) -- Anti-corporation demonstrators ignored an order to evacuate their encampment outside Oakland, Calif., city hall, continuing to occupy Frank Ogawa Plaza overnight and going about their business as usual Saturday morning.

Music blared and dozens of more tents were erected in the encampment Friday night. It was hardly the scene one would have expected after city officials issued an order that protesters were to vacate the plaza by 10 p.m.

"We're here to address the issues that have been raised in terms of public health and safety—graffiti, urination, vandalism and making specific requests as to what the need to do as to address those issues," Oakland city spokeswoman Karen Boyd told ABC News station KGO-TV in San Francisco.

Boyd said demonstrators were welcome to protest in the plaza between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., but no later.

Despite the demonstrators' violation of the order to leave the park, there was no sign of an increased police presence.

"We've known from the beginning that this is an illegal occupation in the eyes of the city," protester Ali Hakimi told the San Francisco Chronicle. "We're just taking it day by day. We're consumed with people being fed, that they're safe, and outside of that, I don't know how far ahead we're thinking."

The problem of pending eviction isn't unique to Oakland.

Eleven protesters in San Jose, Calif., were arrested after occupying an area near city hall for nearly four weeks.

According to Occupy Together, an online group that seeks to streamline communication between all the Occupy demonstration encampments, protesters in Vancouver, British Columbia, are also facing legal pressure to vacate their tent city, which is on the lawn of an art gallery.

And in Melbourne, Australia, 100 protesters were arrested after defying an order to leave the plaza they had been occupying.

Protesters said they will suspend their occupation until further notice, according to ABC News Australia.

In London, protesters are grappling with whether to leave their post outside St. Paul's Cathedral after the famous tourist spot was shut down for the first time since World War II, due to safety concerns.

The dean of St. Paul's initially said he would not make the protesters leave, but many sightseers were angry that they couldn't see the cathedral because of the size of the tent city, which has grown exponentially since it was set up a week ago.

"We are very disappointed, because it's the second day we tried to see St. Paul's Cathedral," a tourist told ABC News Radio. "It's a very important point in London."

Protesters said they will gather for a vote Sunday about whether to leave the space.

In New York, denizens of Zuccotti Park made space for families to spend Friday night camped out as part of the first-ever Occupy Wall Street family sleepover.

The event included pizza, a sing-along and a bedtime story.

But the families' restful night was interrupted early Saturday morning when Dylan Spoelstra, 21, scaled the park's 70-foot-tall sculpture, refusing to come down until Mayor Michael Bloomberg resigned.

"This movement means people take action in different ways. There's certainly respect for different tactics," Occupy Wall Street spokesman Bil lDobbs said. "But as you can see, we've been going out very simply marching over the past month."

And more marching is what's in store for the residents of Zuccotti Park and their compatriots in other cities. They'll be joining movements across the country to participate in the 16th National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality.

The Occupy Wall Street movement, which began in New York City on Sept. 17 to protest corporate greed, has spread to more than 1,500 cities to date.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Occupy London Movement in Its Second Day

Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) -- In the autumn sunshine, the hundreds of protesters who had braved the cold night near the steps of St. Paul’s Cathedral in colorful tents were out in force again on Sunday as the Occupy London movement entered its second day.

The streets near London’s financial district surrounding the Cathedral—one of the capital’s iconic landmarks—have been transformed into a city within a city complete with its own media center, first aid area and a food stall.

There was a carnival atmosphere as the protesters organized their sit in and erected their placards conveying their message against corporate greed and the austerity measures. They managed a coup Sunday morning when the Canon at St. Paul’s had asked police to leave and welcomed the protesters to stay.

There’s talk of running Internet cables through the cathedral to ensure protesters have the appropriate set up to run their operation smoothly. The demonstrators are in this for the long haul, determined to stay on the streets to vent their anger in support of the Wall Street protests.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Occupy Wall Street: Thousands Join the Movement

Johannes Simon/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Occupy Wall Street movement that has sparked protests across the nation and the world enters its fifth week today as more demonstrations are planned.

This weekend, the protests and demonstrations expanded across Europe and in Asia and Australia.

In London Sunday morning, outside St Paul's Cathedral, a colorful tent city popped up overnight, where the police have allowed the protesters to remain to demonstrate peacefully.

The cold weather did not deter the protesters as they said they will stay for as long as it takes.

Most of the protests around the world sparked by the movement were peaceful, but in Rome a small group broke away from the main protest and smashed shop windows and torched a car.

As Rome burned, the protests spread like wildfire from Berlin where 4,000 people tried to march to the cities parliamentary buildings to Frankfurt where they converged on the European Central Bank.

In the U.S., protests focused on everything from corporate greed to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

On Saturday, protesters gathered and marched in effort to bring awareness to corporate greed in Birmingham, Ala. Occupy Birmingham organizer Allyn Hudson said demonstrators are tired of the wealthy 1 percent and corporations controlling political decisions.

"People in America are concerned with having their voices drowned out by an endless tidal wave of money that is purchasing our politicians. We want our government to be free of such influence," Hudson said.

In Sacramento, Calif., as protesters gathered at Cesar Chavez Park, among those speaking was well known war protester and California native Cindy Sheehan.

"Economic and social equality that we seek cannot be achieved without complete and unconditional peace," she said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Occupy Wall Street Movement Gains Global Momentum 

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Thousands of Occupy Wall Street protesters took their act to Broadway Saturday, marching from downtown Manhattan to Times Square, as the movement went global with demonstrations in major cities around the world.

The scene in Times Square was loud and tense, but without any violence. Police penned in the thousands of protesters in a three-block-long area, but the officers on the scene seemed more focused on traffic control than on any confrontation with the marchers.

The group set up facing the Armed Forces recruiting station in Times Square to protest the money being spent on foreign wars instead of on people struggling in the United States with no jobs and no health care.

Despite the loud chants and bongos of the demonstrators, police managed to keep the throngs of tourists moving pretty smoothly past the protest.

Most of the dozens of protests around the world sparked by the Occupy Wall Street movement were peaceful Saturday, but in Rome, a small group broke away from the main protest and smashed shop windows and torched a car, breaking away from the main group of occupiers.

Protesters in Tokyo also said they were waging war on economic inequality.

About 300 Australians echoed the mantra first trumpeted by the New York City protesters: "We are the 99 percent," their descriptor for those who are not in the wealthiest 1 percent of the population.

There were also an increasing number of demonstrations in other cities around the U.S. as the movement continues gain momentum.

"There's a lot of things wrong in our county that need to be corrected and the only way to get them corrected is to start with a grassroots movement," said Larry Coleman in Flint, Mich.

In London, demonstrators hoping to take a lesson from Occupy Wall Street's New York City progenitors showed up prepped and ready, said California native Babken DerGrigorian, 25, who has a master's degree from the London School of Economics.

"We came up with a list of 10 working groups: Logistics, media, internal communications, process, external communications," said UCLA graduate DerGrigorian, one in what he estimates were up to 3,000 mostly younger London protesters joining Occupy Wall Street's slated 950-city "International Day of Action."

"Occupy Wall Street, media-wise, started out with really bad coverage. We don't want anyone to miss the point of what this is about. Our governments have been hijacked by corporate interests, and the solutions won't come from our politicians," he said.

While the protests were relatively peaceful, Scotland Yard said two people had been arrested for assault on police officers and one for public disorder in London, according to the BBC.

DerGrigorian said the protesters had assembled at St. Paul's Church, next door to the London Stock Exchange. Police barred access to protestors including

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange waited his turn at the microphone and was allowed to speak by a consensus vote of the newly forming group, DerGrigorian said.

In Manhattan, protesters marched from their downtown encampment in Zuccotti Park to Times Square. At JP Morgan Chase's address near Wall Street, they handed customers fliers with instructions about how to close their accounts with Chase and a list of smaller credit unions and community banks.

Saturday's activity followed Friday's postponement of a planned cleaning of Zuccotti Park by its owners, Brookfield Properties. At least 14 people were arrested Friday for blocking access to the park, authorities said, aiming to prevent what protesters contend is needless, since they've been picking up after themselves.

In other incidents Friday, Denver police in riot gear moved Occupy Wall Street protesters away from the Colorado state capitol grounds, and scuffles erupted between protesters and police over a tent encampment in San Diego. Pepper spray was used to disburse a human chain that was formed around the tents, ABC affiliate KGTV in San Diego reported.

DerGrigorian said he is optimistic that the protests will have an impact.

"My story is very typical of many people of my generation who did everything right. I and a lot of my friends are educated and very smart; yet, we're all unemployed. Those things affect you." said DerGrigorian, who added that he was speaking strictly for himself, even though he is a member of the London contingent’s external communications committee.

"It's gotten to a point that this is the only way forward," he said. "This is the most exciting thing to happen in our generation, which is just now waking up. I don't know if this movement is going to succeed. But failure really doesn't seem like an option for us."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Occupy Wall Street Movement Goes Worldwide

Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Occupy Wall Street movement that has been spreading across America went worldwide Saturday morning.

Protests were planned in solidarity from Europe to Australia in what is being called an "International Day of Action" this weekend.

In Tokyo, protesters fought inequality and about 300 Australians chanted the cry that started on Wall Street, "We are the 99%!"

While the worldwide protests get underway, protesters at the movement's home base in Lower Manhattan said they're not done spreading the message of the so-called "99 percent."

There are two major events planned for Saturday—a march to Times Square and a rally at JP Morgan Chase Bank, where protesters say they'll be pulling the money from their accounts and closing them all together.

Elsewhere in the country, protesters like Larry Coleman in Flint, Mich., say they're in solidarity with similar protests against corporate greed and economic injustice.

"There's a lot of things wrong in our county that need to be corrected and the only way to get them corrected is to start with a grassroots movement," Coleman said.

On Friday, protesters camping out at New York City's Zuccotti Park were able to stay put a few more days after the company that owns the park postponed a planned clean-up.

When the real estate company Brookfield Properties, along with the backing of police, told protesters the rules against camping, the protesters saw it as an eviction order.

Protesters vowed to stay in the park and would try to stop cleaning crews from coming in.

Brookfield Properties said in a statement that they postponed the cleaning "at the request of a number of local political leaders."

The company said it hoped "to reach a resolution regarding the manner in which Zuccotti Park is being used by the protesters.”

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on WOR radio Friday that if no agreement is reached, the company will likely attempt the same cleaning next week.

He warned that "it would be a little harder at that point in time to provide police protection."

At least 14 people were arrested Friday for blocking access to the park, authorities said.

It was one of several incidents between protesters and police around the country.

In Denver, police in riot gear moved Wall Street protesters away from the Colorado state Capitol grounds.

In San Diego, scuffles erupted between protesters and police over a tent encampment.

Pepper spray was used to disburse a human chain that was formed around the tents, San Diego ABC News affiliate KGTV reports.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Occupy Wall Street Going Global this Weekend

John Foxx/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Occupy Wall Street and affiliate groups around the globe are planning protests from Tokyo to Sydney on Saturday, according to Bloomberg News.

Organizers say the largest demonstrations are scheduled to take place in London and Australia.

Back in the U.S., protests are scheduled in cities across the country for Saturday and Occupy Wall Street has planned multiple marches including a "mass march" on Chase Bank and a protest in Times Square.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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