YEAR IN REVIEW #8: Occupy Movement spreads from Wall Street to Preston Street

Occupy protesters meet at Union Square in New York City Nov. 17, 2011. The protesters also gathered in Zuccotti Park earlier in the day to protest during the two month anniversary of Occupy Wall Street. (Andy Kuhn | Staff Photographer)

A wave of national protests started with Occupy Wall Street on Sept. 17, but quickly spread throughout the country.

The New York event consisted of protests and marches against the financial system and corporate influence, with the event centered in Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park.

The protests spread nationally and internationally to more than 70 major cities and 600 communities, including Lansing, Chicago, Denver, London and Rome.

On Oct. 14 more than 1,000 began protesting at the Spirit of Detroit statue on Woodward Avenue. Michigan residents from all over the state carrying signs, flags and backpacks filled with camping gear marched down Woodward to Grand Circus Park where protesters set up the occupation.

For the first hours, the crowd chanted, “We are the 99 percent.”

As night and rain fell, camping gear was pulled out. About 50 tents and makeshift shelters filled with donated supplies began popping up as protesters spent their first night in the park.

Three people organized a small Occupy event for Mount Pleasant, hanging signs and protesting Nov. 28 in front of the Bovee University Center.

The movement was brought to Mount Pleasant about a month and a half before their event, said Mount Pleasant resident and CMU alumna Mary Irvine.

Occupy Mount Pleasant began with about 30 people initially, Irvine said.

Irvine said what disturbed her most is to see the violence toward people that are spreading a positive message.

“Some people can’t handle our message and look away,” she said. “If they don’t support our message, I would ask them what their wages are, because those will most likely put them in the 99 percent.”

Irvine said she would also ask people who oppose the movement if they are okay with corruption and the status quo.

After almost two months of people camping and protesting, the New York Police Department gave protesters notice on Nov. 15 to leave Zuccotti Park because of allegedly unsanitary and hazardous conditions. An hour after notifying protesters, police in riot gear began removing people from the park, arresting around 200 people in the process.