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The GW Hatchet


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Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Officials to clear homeless encampment near campus in May
By Max Porter, Contributing News Editor • March 4, 2024

GW Law School student arrested in Wall Street protests

Updated Oct. 26, 2011, 11:13 p.m.

Police arrested a GW Law School student Saturday in New York during the Occupy Wall Street protests, an ongoing demonstration against what participants call corporate greed and corrupt political influence.

Robert Stephens, one of hundreds of demonstrators at the sit-ins, shouted that he would not “stand by and just watch” before New York Police Department cops arrested him.

Protesters have been marching in the area for about two weeks. Officers arrested about 80 people that day.

“That’s the bank that took my parents’ home, that’s the bank right there,” he said, pointing to a building while sitting on the ground. “I’m not moving. I’m a law student at George Washington University and I’m not moving.”

The Blaze reported that Stephens’ mother said the home is being short-saled due to dips in their income.

Protesters have cited various reasons for camping out at New York’s financial district – mainly discontent with bank bailouts  – but some signs target poverty and the death penalty.

D.C. demonstrators will take to K Street in a similar protest Saturday, with more than 300 people saying they are attending the event on its Facebook page. Participants will begin their march at McPherson Square, which protesters say is the “epicenter” of corporate money’s influence on politics.

Stephens said capitalism is “in crisis.”

“In a system dependent on constant growth, our capitalist structure has allowed the financial industry to privatize gains and socialize losses,” Stephens said.

He said the protests hold personal value for him, because his parents went through the “humiliating and traumatic process” of selling their home through a short-sale. After seeing JPMorgan Chase bank, which forced his parents out of their home, he said, he made comments that led to his arrest.

“In the case of my parents, we don’t know where they will live in 3 months,” Stephens said. “As I walked out there I could only think about the fact that my parents and so many other families worked so hard, and I couldn’t sit by and watch them suffer in silence.”

Stephens said he crossed police barricades during the demonstrations and was willing to spend time at a police station to stand up against what he considers atrocities financial institutions have put in place. To him, Stephens said, the occupations represent a “social transformation.”

This post was updated on Oct. 18, 2011 to reflect the following:
In the second update to this post, The Hatchet reported that The Blaze spoke with Stephens’ mother. The way this paragraph was worded was confusing and has been edited for clarity.

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