The Occupy Wall Street in New York movement came to the attention of the general public on September 17, 2011, when protesters occupied the privately owned land on Zuccotti Park, near the Wall Street Financial District in Yew York.
Inspired by similar protests and mass action by the Canadian group Adbusters, the Arab Spring uprisings in the Middle East, and the student protests in England in 2010, the Occupy Wall Street movement mobilized people from a number of different groups.
The main focus of the protests was on the continued interference and manipulative practices of the private financial sector, on government. In essence, the Occupy Wall Street in New York movement is about accountability for the growing wealth inequality between the elite rich '1%', and the economically stifled '99%' of the population.
The Great Recession of 2008 was caused by banks lending money that was backed by risky mortgages, essentially they were selling worthless debt insurance to each other. Initial protests were tempered by the hope that President Obama would introduce stricter regulations into the banking and financial sectors, and reign in the perpetrators of the economic crisis.
When the huge bailouts occurred, and the CEO's financial companies received massive paychecks and performance bonuses, the normal taxpaying citizens were inspired to rebel in some way.
Occupy Wall Street has no structured leadership, and the first protests were suggested by Adbusters Foundation website in July of 2011. The internet group Anonymous caught onto the idea in August, and they recommended the occupation of key areas, and that protesters bring camping equipment with.
The 'U.S. Day of Rage' and the New York General Assembly joined the occupation. As a result of the different group converging under one banner, there were no clear goals initially. The movement had no structured leadership, though the New York General Assembly acts as a controlling body.
Most of the protestors were white, under 30 and had tertiary education. The occupation was mostly peaceful, and similar protests were sparked off around the world. There are over 150 Facebook Occupy groups, and over 500 Twitter tags with '#OWS'.