Protesters on the waterfront

Hop on a boat and admire the photos Mathieu Asselin (1973) took of Occupy. This worldwide protest movement fought for a fairer world.

9 October, 2016
Text: Guido van Eijck

Occupy began on the 17th of September 2011 in Zuccotti Park, New York, near Wall Street. With banners, lectures and playful protests the Occupyers stood up against growing social and economic equality and the vast influence of the financial sector.

The French photographer Mathieu Asselin (1973) was there. He portrayed a motley crew of protesters against a neutral background. They hold up banners and signs, raise a clenched fist, or pose intimately with their loved ones. Their faces show anger, but also optimism and hope. The protestors called themselves ‘the ninety-nine percent’, referring to the income inequality in the United States where one percent of the population owns more wealth than the other ninety-nine percent combined.

After two months, the tent camp in New York was disbanded. Even though the Occupyers didn’t achieve concrete results at the time, their influence was great. The worldwide Occupy-protests put income inequality and the need to reform the financial system firmly on the political agenda. These discussions still play an important role in the run up to the elections in the United States as well as in The Netherlands and other European countries. The support for an economic system that only favours the one percent at the top is dwindling.