The Occupy movement is an international protest movement which is primarily directed against economic and social inequality. The first Occupy protest to receive wide coverage was Occupy Wall Street in New York City, which began on Sept. 17, 2011. By Oct. 9, Occupy protests had taken place or were ongoing in over 95 cities across 82 countries, and over 600 communities in the United States, including Los Angeles. As of Dec. 20, the Meetup page “Occupy Together” listed 2,751 Occupy communities worldwide.

The movement was initiated by the Canadian activist group Adbusters, and partly inspired by the Arab Spring, especially Cairo’s Tahrir Square protests, and the Spanish Indignants. The movement commonly uses the slogan “We are the 99 percent,” the #Occupy hashtag format, and organizes through websites such as “Occupy Together.” According to the Washington Post, the movement, which has been described as a “democratic awakening” by Cornel West, is difficult to distill to a few demands.

Just after midnight on Nov. 9 in London, Ontario, police evicted protesters from the city’s Victoria Park, becoming the first forced evictions in Canada. On the afternoon of Nov. 11 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and later on the night of Nov. 14, authorities forcefully closed down camps around the world in cities such as New York, Oakland and Zurich. Occupy protesters immediately regrouped and vowed to continue their protests, often returning to the cleared sites. On Nov. 24, Edinburgh City Council became the first governmental body in the world to grant the Occupy movement official recognition.