“Occupy” groups in New Zealand

Occupy Wall St which began in New York in September has spread around the world. By last Saturday, there were 2,668 groups in about 100 countries. Occupy protest groups have been in our main cities for the last six weeks but now councils are getting tired of them and want the protesters to go home.

Occupy groups are protesting against economic and social inequality. They say, “We are the 99%”. They mean that 1% of the people in countries like ours have most of the money while 99% suffer. Too many people work for low wages or are unemployed. This is not fair.

In Dunedin, Auckland and Wellington, Occupy groups are living in tents in the centre of the city. About 100 people in 70 tents are in Auckland’s Aotea Square. They say that we have freedom of speech in New Zealand so they have the right to protest but the council says that they are stopping other people from using the Aotea Square. The council wants the court to stop the protest. The judge gave the protesters one week to decide what to do. The court case will be next Monday.

Vocabulary

occupy – stay there, live there
inequality – not equal
economic inequality – a few people are very rich; a great many are poor
social inequality – a few people live in expensive houses, have expensive cars and go on overseas holidays; a great many people live in poor houses and never have enough money
suffer – they feel pain

Questions
1. Do you think the Occupy groups should be allowed to stay in the centre of the city?
2. Will this protest movement change anything?
3. Does protest ever change anything?
4. Protest movements are not usually world-wide. How did Occupy become a world-wide protest?






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