How 'Occupy Wall Street' Started and Spread

Occupy Wall Street Expanding at Rapid Pace


Monday marks one month since the start of "Occupy Wall Street" in New York. Since its inception, the movement has spawned offshoot groups in other cities both in America and abroad. On Friday, the focal point of the protests--Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan--was the site of one of the movement's largest victories so far, as a scheduled cleanup of the park was deferred after protesters promised "to defend the occupation from eviction." This weekend, occupiers in over 80 countries took to the streets in protest. Here's how the protests have emanated out of a small park in the Financial District and captured the world's attention:

July 13 Canadian anti-consumerist magazine Adbusters calls for an occupation starting September 17 (Constitution Day in the United States) where "20,000 people flood into lower Manhattan, set up tents, kitchens, peaceful barricades and occupy Wall Street for a few months." In a September 27 Vancouver Courier article, Adbusters senior editor Micah White is quoted as saying that after floating the original concept on their website and to their E-mail list, the idea of the occupation was spontaneously taken up by independent activists.

July 26 A group calling itself "New Yorkers Against Budget Cuts" announces a meeting on Wall Street on August 2 to protest potential austerity measures as a result of the debt-ceiling crisis. That day, another set of protesters planning for an upcoming "occupation" protest joins them, and, according to, after the assembly the two groups "gather into working groups to plan for the September 17 occupation of Wall Street."

August 23 A blog entitled "We Are the 99%" launches, encouraging contributors to post complaints about how "the 99 percent have been set against each other, fighting over the crumbs the 1 percent leaves behind."

September 17 An estimated 1,000 protesters gather in Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan and march on Wall Street. In San Francisco, protesters demonstrate in front of the Federal Reserve Bank on Market Street, beginning their own occupation.

September 23 "Occupy" movement spreads to Chicago where protesters march from Willis Tower to the Federal Reserve Bank.

September 24 At least 80 occupiers are arrested during another march in lower Manhattan which closed multiple streets. A New York Police Department officer, later identified as deputy inspector Anthony Bologna, is videotaped using pepper-spray on a group of young women.

September 27 New York City Councilmen Charles Barron and Jumaane Williams visit Zuccotti Park, becoming the first elected officials to publicly visit the encampment. Almost 2,000 people, the largest gathering yet, descend upon the park to hear Dr. Cornel West lead the nightly meeting, known as the general assembly.

September 28 In a unanimous vote, the New York Transit Workers Union becomes the first union to support the protests.

October 1 Over 5,000 protesters bearing banners reading "We are the 99%" head toward the Brooklyn Bridge, shutting down a lane of traffic for several hours. New York City police arrest over 700 occupiers. "Occupy" movements begin in Los Angeles, Boston, and St. Louis.

October 3 Protesters in Manhattan dressed as "corporate zombies" stage a march past the New York Stock Exchange.

[Vote: Should Obama Endorse "Occupy Wall Street?"]

October 5 An estimated 15,000 protesters and union members, the largest group to date, march on the financial district. Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain explains his view of the movement, saying, "Don't blame Wall Street, don't blame the big banks, if you don't have a job and you're not rich, blame yourself!"

October 6 Regarding the occupy protests, President Obama says, "I think it expresses the frustrations the American people feel, that we had the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression, huge collateral damage all throughout the country ... and yet you're still seeing some of the same folks who acted irresponsibly trying to fight efforts to crack down on the abusive practices that got us into this in the first place." "Occupy" movement spreads to Portland, Oregon, where an estimated crowd of 5,000 marches.