US & Canada

Occupy Wall Street: New York stories

  • 16 November 2011
  • From the section US & Canada
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A New York court has ruled that a pre-dawn clearance of the Occupy Wall Street camp at Zuccotti Park was legal.

Hundreds of protesters returned to the park on Tuesday evening, but will no longer be allowed to pitch tents or use generators in the plaza.

Here, two New Yorkers share their contrasting views as the Occupy Wall Street movement faces a change in circumstances.

Melanie Beaudette, Brooklyn, New York

I stand with Occupy Wall Street and have been down at Zuccotti Park protesting since the beginning.

The American dream is a dangerous myth so steeped in capitalism that even those of us trying to do the so-called right thing can drown in a sea of debt and false promises.

I was working on my PhD in history and women's studies when it became clear that I was thousands of dollars in debt and had at least a year or two to finish my dissertation.

I couldn't afford the expense so I moved to New York City, with no money and no job, to be close to my family.

I am in the process of being certified to teach history in New York City public schools, where good teachers are desperately needed, but the process is tedious and expensive.

Occupy Wall Street is an amazing amalgamation of strong-spirited revolutionaries.

While I don't agree with everyone's point of view or individual causes, it is so culturally salient that people are finally out in the streets protesting instead of just "liking" causes on Facebook.

I have nearly been charged by police horses, pepper-sprayed, beaten, and arrested.

Today the police and Mayor Bloomberg cleared the park. My cousin jumped out of bed at 04:00 to rush down there. I wish I could have joined her.

This is merely a bump in the road that actually serves to demonstrate the legitimacy of OWS.

I am too educated and inspired to be sitting at a corporate temp desk job with huge student loans and no relief in sight.

Tony B, Staten Island, New York

The protest scene from Liberty Tower, New York

I realise that the Occupy group has an idea, but I think it is a little misguided.

My colleagues and I are glad that the protesters have left Zuccotti Park.

When the camp was there, it looked like a slum.

The people living there were packed like sardines and when we walked past, I for one, did not know what to expect.

This morning when I arrived at Zuccotti Park, there were clean-up operations under way.

There were perhaps 15 to 20 workers in orange vests pressure-washing and steam-cleaning.

The clean-up operation made me realise the potential health hazard that the protest camp in the park posed.

There were large numbers of police in riot-gear and the park was barricaded.

There were still some young people wandering around as if their world had been destroyed.

Police cars were parked as far away as Battery Park - a quarter of a mile away - and helicopters were hovering overhead.

What the residents of Zuccotti Park should do is organise their ranks and vote.

They should vote out the liberal, crooked and ineffectual politicians and vote in the people who care about the electorate.

We have let the politicians, lobbyists, and corporations control our country.

It is time to take the country back, but please do not disturb the places where we, as New Yorkers, go to spend our lunchtime.

Zuccotti Park is our place to get away from the office, to read the papers and to meet our friends.