Occupy Wall Street celebrates two-year anniversary

Returning to where the worldwide Occupy movement began, protesters celebrated the second anniversary of Occupy Wall Street with demonstrations at Zuccotti Park and around New York City on Tuesday.

Even two years later, protesters said Occupy’s relevance has not diminished because income inequality has not disappeared.

“There’s still people suffering. That’s why Occupy is still important, so people feel like they’re not alone,” said Linnea Paton, 25, who slept overnight several times with the original encampment before Mayor Michael Bloomberg cleared Zuccotti in November 2011.

The day’s events began at that same park, where protesters rallied with costumes, signs and music.

In one corner of Zuccotti, a group smeared red paint across their faces, chanting and dancing to an impromptu drum ensemble and singing against everything from Guantanamo Bay to the NYPD’s use of stop-and-frisk.

True to form, police arrested at least four protesters during the daytime demonstrations, which included a march to Washington Square Park. Another rally was held later Tuesday night, with a march downtown from the United Nations.

Democratic mayoral nominee Bill de Blasio, who spoke to the original Occupiers, said Tuesday that he couldn’t predict the future of the movement, but that he respected what it was trying to accomplish.

“The Occupy movement made a powerful point to this nation about the reality of our economy and some of the things we have to do to address the people who suffer,” said de Blasio, who did not attend any of the day’s events.

Occupier Marni Halasa, 47, agreed that the movement pushed inequality into the national consciousness.

“For all of the criticisms — no leaders, doesn’t have a direction — screaming about income inequality is still important,” Halasa said.

Follow Anna Sanders on Twitter: @AnnaESanders


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