In the history of ‘Anonymous’ demonstrations, this was supposed to be the big one.
But the plan for some 20,000 anti-corporate protesters to descend upon lower Manhattan and occupy the physical space of Wall Street hit a few snags. Only 100-250 protesters remain in Zuccotti Park on Tuesday after a peak of around 2,000 on Saturday, and several protesters have been arrested under an antiquated “antimask” law.
Twitter accounts self-identified with the Anonymous hacktivist label have circulated reports that the crowd size has dwindled and the demonstration is in danger of sputtering out.
“Are you in New York? ‘Is #OccupyWallStreet on the brink of collapse?’ ~ Please, get there if you can. #OurWallStreet,” tweeted the @AnonNep account, along with a link to an article at the blog 100gf that states the “core group of protesters is believed to number between 150 and 200. More are needed and the event looks far short of reaching the 20,000 that organisers had hoped for.”
Meanwhile, according to the Occupy Wall Street website -run by the countercultural magazine Adbusters, which initially called for the demonstrations back in June- the remaining protesters were defiant. “We’re still here. We intend to stay until we see movements toward real change in our country and the world,” an update posted early Tuesday morning read.
And as for the police response to the protests, well, that too has proved to be creative and unpredictable. Seven individuals had been arrested as of Monday, according to Bloomberg.
But up to five people have been issued a citation for violating an 1845 “antimask law” that prohibits masked gatherings of two or more people, except during a “a masquerade party or like entertainment,” The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday, citing police.
“Two masked protesters were arrested Saturday for trying to enter a building used by Bank of America Corp. (BAC),” police spokesman Paul Brown told Bloomberg.
The Journal also reported that another two people were arrested for writing a Gandhi quote on the sidewalk with chalk, one for disorderly conduct and the other for graffiti. Videos of protesters being cuffed and hauled away have also begun showing up on YouTube.
Though protesters have donned a number of masks at this event and Anonymous demonstrations past, the most iconic and prevalent of these is of course the Guy Fawkes mask popularized by the graphic-novel-cum-film “V for Vendetta.” And as The New York Times reported in August, the popularity of the masks have actually become the top-selling mask on Amazon.com and last year added $28 million to Time Warner’s bottom line, as the movie studio owns the rights to the image.