The Occupy Wall Street movement began on Saturday, Sept. 17, when dozens of protesters descended on Lower Manhattan to voice their opposition to an economic system they say rewards the rich at the expense of the poor and middle class.

Claiming to speak for the so-called "99 percent" of Americans whose voices they say are being ignored, the group, which has swelled to the thousands and spawned copycats across the globe, has been camped out since then at Zuccotti Park, near Ground Zero, where they've formed a mini-society, complete with a library, newspaper and a nightly "General Assembly."

The group also stages frequent demonstrations in neighborhoods across the city, which have attracted numerous local elected officials union members and thousands of supporters.

The demonstrations have also led to several serious showdowns with police, with allegations of police brutality and hundreds of arrests, which have further emboldened the movement.