Occupy Wall Street
On September 17, 2011, a group calling themselves Occupy Wall Street took control of Zuccotti Park (which they now refer to as Liberty Square) in Manhattan, with the aim of raising public consciousness about issues of economic inequality, social injustice, and corporate influence in governments. Since then, an estimated 6,500 people in 110 American cities have been arrested in connection with Occupy Wall Street protests. And now, it appears plans for a new phase of the groundbreaking protests have taken root.

From its inception, members of the Occupy movement have demonstrated a willingness to commit what they call “direct” and “arrestable” actions, or acts of civil disobedience leading to detention or arrests, to fight what they see as an unfair global socioeconomic system. New York photographer Michael Coniaris photographed and interviewed members of this diverse group, which includes high school students, clergy, activists, professionals, and retirees, for Fast Company.


[Image: Flickr user Voldy92 ]
Ray Lewis, 60
"I had no intention of getting arrested. After seeing [the protestors’] commitment, I had to show solidarity with them." - Ray Lewis, 60; Retired Captain, Philadelphia Police Department.

Arrested Nov. 17, 2011 for failure to obey a police order and obstructing vehicular traffic while protesting near Wall Street; detained for 10 hours.
Lauren DiGioia, 27
"I was trying to collect the things that we're supposed to have to be a success, but all I had was a void. I feel like I am awake now for the first time." - Lauren DiGioia, 27; Musician and Waitress, Clifton, N.J.

Arrested on October 15, 2011 and Jan. 1, 2012 for disorderly conduct. Arrested January 3 for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest; detained for 26 hours.
Diego Ibañez, 23
"You need to be able to do something crazy to improve the human condition. We only live for 80 years, and I want to leave the world a better place than when I found it." - Diego Ibañez, 23.

Arrested seven times at Occupy-related events, with charges including inciting to riot, resisting arrest, failure to obey an officer, trespassing, criminal trespassing, failure to move, and disorderly conduct. A number of the charges were related to a 16-day hunger strike in front of Trinity Wall Street, a church on Broadway.
Simone, 14
"It was important for people to know that the decisions made by CEOs affect me as a 14-year-old and all of the people around me. I was doing this for my Mom. She couldn't do it herself." - Simone, 14; high school student, Westchester County, N.Y.

Detained for seven hours on October 1, 2011 for obstructing vehicular traffic while on the Brooklyn Bridge; 700 protestors were arrested that day.
George Packard, 67
“It made no sense that a vacant lot should languish unused in a dead zone in New York City. Occupy Wall Street was offering to bring it back to life and help it become a source of hope and light. The old order had chosen to keep it frozen and untouched; Occupy Wall Street wanted to liberate the space, and I agreed.” -George Packard, 67; retired Episcopal bishop, Wantagh, N.Y.

Arrested Dec. 17, 2011 for trespassing in a lot near Duarte Square. Detained for 9 hours.
Angie Richards, 18
"I didn't want to get arrested. I went over there because people needed my help. It was a horrible experience and I don't want to get arrested again." - Angie Richards, 18; college student and medic, Sommerset, N.J.

Arrested December 17 for criminal trespass.
Ydanis Rodriguez, 46
"I was talking to one police officer, asking that I be allowed to observe the eviction of Zuccotti Park, which is part of my job as a Council Member. As I was talking, another officer grabbed me from behind, knocked me down to the ground and pushed my face into the street. I was then handcuffed and taken into custody. I spent the bulk of the day in jail, along with a number of other people who had been arrested in the eviction, including a few journalists." - Ydanis Rodriguez, 46; New York City Councilman

Arrested on Nov. 15, 2011 and charged with resisting arrest and obstruction of government administration.
Stacey Hessler, 38
Stacey Hessler, 38; mom, beekeeper, musician, and artist, Florida.

Arrested Nov. 15, 2011 during the Zuccotti Park eviction for trespassing and not obeying an officer. Arrested Nov. 17 for two counts of civil disobedience, obstructing traffic, and resisting arrest.
Tim "DiceyTroop" Fitzgerald, 28
"What's changed is our ability to communicate. We're building horizontal structures similar to the Internet to help each other become more free and self-reliant. A lot of the corruption we are protesting against is within structures that we think we can outmode." - Tim "DiceyTroop" Fitzgerald, 28, personal tech-support professional, Foxboro, Mass.

Arrested on Nov. 15, during the eviction of Liberty Square (Zuccotti Park), for trespassing and disorderly conduct.
John Knefel, 29
"The prison industrial complex is the nexus of several forms of social and economic injustice that Occupy Wall Street seeks to address. For that reason, it can be valuable to see it from the inside." - John Knefel, 29; journalist and comedian, Dubuque, Iowa.

Arrested on Dec. 12, 2011 for criminal trespassing; detained for 37 hours.
Negesti, 20
“I am here in radical dissent for human rights and the human condition. I stand against oppression. I don’t think that I can be happy until the world is better for everyone.” - Negesti, 20, independent filmmaker. Brooklyn.

Arrested for disorderly conduct early on Jan. 1, 2012
Charlie Meyers
"Liberty Square was the place where I felt most at home. Everyone was smiling all of the time.” - Charlie Meyers, college student.

Arrested Nov. 15 for obstruction of governmental administration and trespassing, detained for 46 hours; arrested Dec. 17 for petty larceny.
Mark Adams, 32
"I had to choose between my family and a movement that is trying to change the world for our children.” - Mark Adams, 32, integration engineer, Baltimore.

Arrested five times for charges including disorderly conduct, failure to comply with a lawful order, resisting arrest, and blocking a public sidewalk.
Yoni Miller, 18
"I was pepper sprayed while holding a sign that said 'no violence.'" - Yoni Miller, 18; Booklyn, N.Y.

Arrested Nov. 17 for failure to follow lawful orders and vehicular traffic violations.
Marisa Holmes
"I want an end to capitalism and all forms of oppression, and the best place to start is Wall Street. I want true freedom. I am in this for life. I am willing to die for it [and] I am willing to go to jail for it." - Marisa Holmes, documentary filmmaker and graduate student.

Arrested Sept. 24 in front of One Chase Plaza (pictured) for disorderly conduct, obstructing government property, and resisting arrest.
Moses Appleton, 25
"This existence should not be a struggle for resources that are so plentiful. This is a not a choice. Every fiber of my being has to resist this system to reclaim my humanity." - Moses Appleton, 25; Virginia Beach, Va.

Arrested Nov. 3 for obstructing government administration and resisting arrest., Nov. 17 for obstructing traffic, obstructing government administration, and resisting arrest, and Dec. 17 for trespassing.
Shawn Carrie, 22
"Every one of us in this movement are people who have known that something is wrong with the world. And there was a moment for each one of us when we realized that this is what we've been waiting for all of our lives." - Shawn Carrie, 22; social media marketing professional, New York City.

Arrested Oct. 1 for failure to disperse.
Stefan Fink, 22
"I would not have felt right if I had left the park on that night. Occupy is super-empowering and liberating and makes me feel more human." - Stefan Fink, 22; Baltimore.

Arrested Nov.15 for obstructing governmental administration, resisting arrest, and disorderly conduct during the NYPD evacuation of Liberty Square (Zuccotti Park).
Daniel, 24
"I think that everyone should be arrested at least once." - Daniel, 24; mediator, Cazenovia, N.Y.

Arrested Nov. 15 for resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, and disrupting government proceedings.
Jason Ahmadi, 27
"Direct action is using your body as a tool for political and social change." - Jason Ahmadi, 27; direct action organizer and cook, California.

On Sept 19, 2011, Ahmadi was the second occupier arrested and charged with “damage to sidewalk” after allegedly writing a chalk message adjacent to Liberty Square (Zuccotti Park). He would be arrested three more times for charges that included disorderly conduct and blocking vehicular traffic.

Read Fast Company's extensive coverage of Occupy Wall Street