They've also helped attract and publicize the support of major unions – the AFL-CIO, Teachers Unions among many others – and civil rights groups such as the ACLU that you'd expect to see among those supporting equality, but not necessarily one that specifically blames financial players such as Rupert Murdoch and the infamously radical-conservative Koch brothers for massive inequities in rules that heavily favor the wealthy on any question involving finance.
Even those whose support could have been assumed seem to have as many problems with OWS' tactics as with the tendency of police to beat and arrest them.
The wide and consistent impact of the protests – in the public consciousness if not in actual changes on the issues they protest – surprised even many among their supporters, because of the group's brashness, aggressive tactics and willingness to admit it doesn't have the answers but does have a list of questions that need serious answers from both lawmakers and the financial industry.
It also surprised opponents who expected the loonies, leftists and hippies they perceived the protesters to be would self-destruct or fade away quickly as the charm of sleeping outside in Manhattan, pressure from police and limited benefit of Patchouli among any unwashed mass took their toll.
The population of protest HQ in Zucotti park rises and falls with the weather, day of the week and the type of event planned for a particular day.
The best indicator of support may be the response to any crisis, which prompts supporters who can't be present in the park every day – many of whom have never participated in any other protests or activist movements – to crowd into the city and draw hordes who can't come to the city to attend online through social media and news sites.
On Thursday, as rumors swirled that the City would expel OccupyWallStreet from Zucotti Park temporarily to allow the real-estate firm that owns it to clean the trash, human waste and detritus of four weeks of zero-infrastructure urban camping, more than 2,000 swelled the population in the park – mostly to scrub it within an inch of its life, not as reinforcements for a major assault on police.
Reuters: Heino Kalis