Occupy Whatever Street We Can Find

Answers to your questions about the news.
Oct. 11 2011 7:49 PM

Occupy Whatever Street We Can Find

Where are protesters camping out in cities that don't have a "Wall Street"?

A protestor outside a Chase bank ATM machine during an anti-Wall Street protest in downtown Los Angeles.

Photo by Getty Images.

The Occupy Wall Street movement has begun to spread far beyond Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan, throwing down tarps and tents in San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Dublin, and many other cities around the world. The originating movement chose to set up in the heart of New York City’s Financial District, as close as possible to the doorstep of its perceived enemy. Since these other cities don’t have Wall Streets, what do protesters look for in a campsite?

High visibility, proximity to banks and city halls, and a comfy lawn (if they can get it). While the seeds of new Occupy movements can now be found everywhere from Homosassa, Fla. to Turku, Finland, most protests of any significant size are located in major cities. These groups wouldn't have much trouble locating branches of major financial institutions in their area. The Fed, for example, has 12 Federal Reserve Banks, located conveniently across the lower 48—not just its famous New York City location. Occupy protesters have pitched tents outside of many of these other banks, including those in San Francisco, Kansas City, and Chicago.

City halls and capitol buildings have also provided rallying points for protestors on the hunt, although the relationship between the demonstrators and their local authorities is not always antagonistic. Rather, some municipal sites seem to have been selected because they provide convenient landmarks, central locations, and, sometimes, hospitable turf. Los Angeles’ version of the Occupy Wall Street group, Occupy L.A., has camped out on City Hall’s front lawn. There, Mayor Villaraigosa and many other city council members have worked to be obliging hosts and hostesses, providing lush grass, encouraging words, and ponchos. Still, as Tuesday’s arrests in Boston indicate, relations can quickly sour. When demonstrators attempted to expand from their safe haven in Dewey Square into the Rose Kennedy Greenway, more than 100 Occupy Boston protesters were detained.

The Occupy movement has no central authority, preferring direct democracy and grassroots growth, so each group has chosen its site independently. Indeed, some cities have seen groups sprout up with differing opinions on where best to focus their efforts. In the nation’s capital, protesters are split between Freedom Plaza and McPherson Square, and there’s some disagreement over which group has the superior spot. A few groups, such as the one that began demonstrating at the California State Capitol in May, were using the "Occupy" name before protesters arrived on Wall Street. Occupy Atlanta began to set up in Woodruff Park as part of a long-planned event to mark the 10th anniversary of the war in Afghanistan.

Got a question about today’s news? Ask the Explainer.

Forrest Wickman is a Slate staff writer. 



Don’t Worry, Obama Isn’t Sending U.S. Troops to Fight ISIS

But the next president might. 

The Extraordinary Amicus Brief That Attempts to Explain the Wu-Tang Clan to the Supreme Court Justices

Amazon Is Officially a Gadget Company. Here Are Its Six New Devices.

The Human Need to Find Connections in Everything

It’s the source of creativity and delusions. It can harm us more than it helps us.

How Much Should You Loathe NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell?

Here are the facts.

Altered State

The Plight of the Pre-Legalization Marijuana Offender

What should happen to weed users and dealers busted before the stuff was legal?

Surprise! The Women Hired to Fix the NFL Think the NFL Is Just Great.

You Shouldn’t Spank Anyone but Your Consensual Sex Partner

Sept. 17 2014 5:10 PM The Most Awkward Scenario in Which a Man Can Hold a Door for a Woman
  News & Politics
Sept. 18 2014 8:58 AM Does this Colorado Poll Show Latino Voters Bailing on the 2014 Election?
Business Insider
Sept. 17 2014 1:36 PM Nate Silver Versus Princeton Professor: Who Has the Right Models?
Sept. 18 2014 9:34 AM How to Order Chinese Food First, stop thinking of it as “Chinese food.”
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 17 2014 6:14 PM Today in Gender Gaps: Biking
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 17 2014 9:37 AM Is Slate Too Liberal?  A members-only open thread.
Sept. 18 2014 8:53 AM The Other Huxtable Effect Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.
Future Tense
Sept. 17 2014 9:00 PM Amazon Is Now a Gadget Company
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 18 2014 7:30 AM Red and Green Ghosts Haunt the Stormy Night
Sports Nut
Sept. 17 2014 3:51 PM NFL Jerk Watch: Roger Goodell How much should you loathe the pro football commissioner?