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Is Occupy Wall Street Over? Many New Yorkers Hope So

Occupy Wall Street activists clashed Thursday with workers and police outside the New York Stock Exchange, prompting more than 100 arrests.
Photo: Stan Honda | AFP | Getty Images
Occupy Wall Street activists clashed Thursday with workers and police outside the New York Stock Exchange, prompting more than 100 arrests.

The Occupy Wall Street movement marked its two-month anniversary on Thursday with a day of protests capped by a march of tens of thousands across the Brooklyn Bridge.

This morning at Zuccotti Park, where the movement has been based since Sept. 17, there are fewer than two dozen protesters.

Did Occupy Wall Street just go out with a bang?

Certainly many New Yorkers would welcome the ending of the movement. In the past two weeks, I’ve noticed a definite turn against the OWS movement among my fellow New Yorkers. They’ve gone from being a fascinating new development to an annoyance to many.

“Oh. Good. So it’s over?” one New Yorker in her mid-thirties said to me on Tuesday, the morning after the police cleared out the tents from the park.

It wasn’t over then. But today it might be.

It was always going to be a challenge to maintain the occupation through New York’s harsh winter. Yesterday saw an impressive turnout despite frigid temperatures and on-and-off-again freezing rain.

But today it looks like a lot of Occupiers have decided that two months is enough.

It’s likely that the movement can still organize big rallies on occasion. Last night’s march of thousands across the Brooklyn Bridge was impressive. But from the look of things in the park late last night and this morning, Occupy Wall Street now lacks the manpower to continue to occupy Zuccotti Park in any significant way overnight.

“Look. This was never about sleeping in a park. It was about calling attention to injustice,” one protester wrote to me over text messaging this morning.

Another protester texted to say that he felt last night’s march was actually a “missed opportunity.”

“We were basically marching about our right to protest. It’s become a movement about being a movement about being a movement. We are the meta-99 percent,” he said.

This might not be the end of Occupy Wall Street. But it is definitely transforming from a neo-shanty-town into something else. And no one really knows what that will become.

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