Occupy Wall Street Activists Celebrate 2nd Anniversary

Protesters gathered in lower Manhattan for a day of marches and rallies

Tuesday, Sep 17, 2013  |  Updated 8:50 PM EDT
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Raging Grannies Sing Original Occupy Protest Songs

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Raw Video: Occupy Protestors Mark Second Anniversary

About 150 Occupy Wall Street protesters returned to the movement's birthplace of Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan on Tuesday. Demonstrators sang songs and criticized banks and income disparity.

Raging Grannies Sing Original Occupy Protest Songs

The Raging Grannies sing their own Occupy protest song, "Good News! Occupy Wall Street's a-Coming" outside Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan Sept. 17 on the second anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street Movement
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About 100 members of Occupy Wall Street returned Tuesday to the small plaza near the New York Stock Exchange that once teemed with thousands of people protesting financial inequality, marking the second anniversary of their movement's beginnings.

Small groups of protesters marched around the streets near Zuccotti Park in the morning, while another march to Washington Square Park clogged sidewalks in the early afternoon. The protesters were scattered in smaller groups around New York City.

Raging Grannies Ready for "Action," 2 Years After Occupy Began

An "assembly for the 99 percent" was held in the afternoon at Zuccotti, a nod to the massive general assembly meetings that were held on a daily basis in the park at the height of the movement.

"We're still out here fighting for economic justice. The bankers still have all the power," protester Linnea Paton said. "They've bought our government and we need a people's movement to do that, and the movement is still here."

But the movement has splintered since Mayor Michael Bloomberg had police raid the park and break up the encampment in November 2011. Without leaders or specific demands, Occupy turned into an amorphous protest against everything wrong with the world.

Occupy was perhaps at its most effective in the aftermath of Sandy, when organizers played a leading role in grassroots disaster relief across the city. They organized donation hubs, delivered food and medications to elderly storm victims and helped people repair their homes, among other volunteer efforts.

"We're here to celebrate two years: We're still here, still fighting, still strong," protester Sumumba Sobukwe told a small crowd gathered on the steps leading into the park. "And we're still Occupy."

But the question of exactly what Occupy is at this point remains muddled by the vast number of competing interest groups promoting their own causes under the Occupy banner.

A website called "Occu Evolve," a subgroup that says it is devoted to "expanding" Occupy into a movement, posted a long list of activities planned throughout the day that will be hosted by various protest groups, including Alternative Banking Working Group of Occupy Wall Street, Families of Police Violence, Money Wars Performers, Occupy Staten Island and Occupy Wall Street Zapatistas.

Barbara Lynch, who was advocating for higher wages for fast-food workers, said Occupy is still alive and isn't going anywhere, even though the movement has shifted toward working in smaller groups.

"The CEOs are still making outrageous sums of money. And now it's time that they have to pay," she said. "We can't sacrifice anything more."

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