The situation down at Occupy Wall Street continues to deteriorate, as sanitary conditions teamed with the personal actions of the protesters appear to be eclipsing the political gathering's original push for a more "equitable" society.
According to the Daily Mail, the environment down at New York City's Financial District is "increasingly debauched." What started out as a gathering of people frustrated over what they see as a lack of opportunity in America (their complaints focused upon corporate greed, the large gap between the poor and rich in America, unemployment, student loans and political corruption), may be developing into something else entirely.
Apparently, there are now teenagers and young adults who have descended upon Wall Street in an effort to turn the gathering into a rave. With a "sex, drugs and rock and roll" mentality apparently infiltrating the protests, Mail Online reports:
Among the banners and flags are now discarded packets of condoms, cigarettes and bottles of spirits, while naked youngsters happily get together with just sleeping bags covering their modesty.
A box of free condoms is kept in the main area where protesters are camping.
If this is an accurate description of the conditions on the ground, it sounds more like Woodstock than it does a political movement. On Friday, alone, more than 400 people were at the makeshift city and sex was apparently a rampant occurrence.
While many have praised the protesters as young people who have little means and who have fallen victim to a down economy, Andre, a 40-year-old activist, says, "Most of the kids are trust-fund babies. They don’t need to be here." He continues, "I’ve seen some making out, having sex. It doesn’t look good."
And then there's the drug use. Numerous reports have claimed that the smell of marijuana has been more than present among the protesters. An image that was recently captured shows two young people under a blanket (and barely clothed), with "The Yage Letters" on top of them. This book, which is a collection of writings from the 1950s and 1960s, provides details on the search for a hallucinogenic plant in the Amazon rainforest. Here's the image:
One could dismiss this an anecdotal and not indicative of the behaviors of the majority of the protesters. Such a dismissal would certainly be fair, but these examples aren't the only odd occurrences concerning the presence of drugs and substances at Wall Street.
On Saturday, a 23-year-old man was sent to the hospital after he ingested liquor and cough syrup. The young man, named Zachary, was not breathing; he was in serious condition. Again, anecdotal, but these accounts teamed with the ongoing reports of marijuana do showcase that there's much more than mere political protesting going down on Wall Street.
And who can forget the image of a man allegedly defecating on a New York City patrol car?
The situation has gotten so out of hand that protest leaders have purportedly setup internal police to stop the out-of-control behavior. One of the individuals who is part of this security unit told the Daily Mail that the organizers want to make sure everyone is at the protest "for the right reason."
These reports will likely only create more angst for Brookfield Office Properties, the company which owns Zuccotti Park (the site of the protests). Brookfield has made its sanitation concerns known. In a recent statement, company officials wrote:
"Sanitation is a growing concern...Normally the park is cleaned and inspected every week night...because the protesters refuse to cooperate...the park has not been cleaned since Friday, September 16th and as a result, sanitary conditions have reached unacceptable levels."
The Daily Mail does note that some protesters have made great efforts to clean up the park, but considering the fact that hundreds of people have been very literally living outdoors for weeks, there's only so much that can be done short of bringing in professionals to scour the premises.
As the protests enter their fourth week, there's no telling what will happen next considering both behaviors and the longevity of the cause.
(H/T: Mail Online)