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Who Is Occupy Wall Street? Protesters Speak Out on Why They Joined

Who’s behind the protests in Zuccotti Park? WATCH VIDEO of some of the diverse protesters sustaining the occupation.

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Matthew Bolton: ‘I Was Inspired’

A professor of political science at Pace, Bolton, 30, initially encountered the protests because they were close to the university. Bolton, who holds a Ph.D. in government from the London School of Economics, says he was compelled to join Occupy Wall Street after speaking with protesters. A dual citizen of Britain and the U.S., he said he was able to “discern just how serious and dedicated many of the people were”—and was inspired to join.

Nicole Carty: ‘Reform or Revolution’

After the NYPD pepper-sprayed protesters early on in the occupation, Carty, 23, said she was “glued” to watching streaming video of the protests. Carty, who moved to New York City after graduating from college, is a part of the facilitation group that oversees the organization of general assembly meetings in Zuccotti park. Carty isn't a full-time protester, though; she's employed as a content manager for a website.

Charles Jenkins: Getting the ‘Hurt Heard’

Has Wall Street shared the burden of the financial crisis? Jenkins, an officer with the Transport Workers Union Local 100, said he believes it has not; rather, workers have borne the brunt of the economic meltdown. Jenkins, 52, joined Occupy Wall Street when his union, which has 30,000 members, was the first to endorse the protests. Since then, the longtime community activist has seen the occupation as a “natural fit” for the issues that concern him and the organization: fighting for the 99 percent and the working class.