Occupy, the U.S.' most significant popular movement of 2011, once again proved its mettle as a potential gamechanger in domestic politics when it shook off its slumber over the winter months and jump-started its second innings with protests attended by thousands across major U.S. cities.
New York City was once again the epicentre of the movement's revival, with echoes of its beginnings as Occupy Wall Street last September. At the time the protests were seen as an outpouring of mass disenchantment with the excesses of corporate greed. They were, however, greeted with a brutal repression by the New York Police Department, including pepper spray attacks on unarmed protesters.
On May Day, protesters numbering in the thousands marched down Broadway toward their old target, Wall Street. Elsewhere Occupy protesters were engaged in minor skirmishes with police, including in Oakland and San Francisco in California, and Seattle, Washington.
Last year Oakland witnessed the worst violence against protesters. The most high-profile victim was Scott Olsen, an Iraq war veteran who was hospitalised with serious injuries after being hit in the head by a tear-gas canister. In another event that sent shock waves through the nation, unarmed, seated student protesters at University of California at Davis were pepper-sprayed in the face by a police officer.
After its explosive start captured the imagination of the liberal strand of American politics last year, the movement went into hibernation as the winter months rolled in, with the cold posing an obvious barrier. With spring and early summer months rolling in, Occupy is clearly hoping to demonstrate that it has no intention to quit.
Keywords: Occupy protests