September 2008—Global economic crisis. Banks on the verge of collapse because of bad mortgages (home loans) are given money by the government; people who owe money on those mortgages are offered no help.
December 2010—Tunisia—Mohammed Bouazizi, 26 years old, sets himself on fire because of years of harassment by the police, starting protests against the government, forcing President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali to resign (leave office) after four weeks.
January 2011—Egypt—Protests in Tahrir Square in the capital city of Cairo force President Hosni Mubarak to step down, despite violence by the government.
February—Wisconsin—More than 100,000 people protest against Governor Scott Walker’s budget cuts and his attacks on workers’ rights. Demonstrators carry Egyptian flags and signs.
May—Greece and Spain—Thousands protest in Athens, Greece, against cuts in public spending. In Spain, more than 1,000 indignados camp out in Madrid against government spending cuts and demand a greater say in Spanish politics.
September 17—New York City – Occupy Wall Street begins. 1,000 people rally and march against corporate influence in politics. After the march, the protesters camp in Zuccotti Park near Wall Street.
September 24—New York City – During a march to Washington Square Park, a police officer sprays two women with pepper spray; the video is posted on YouTube, giving the movement its first major publicity.
October 13—New York City – Mayor Michael Bloomberg, citing safety and sanitation concerns, announces that police will enter Zuccotti park at 7:00 A.M. the next morning, kicking out protesters from parts of the park while it is cleaned. Protesters see this as a trick to force them to leave for good.
October 14—New York City – 2,000 people clean the park overnight and gather in the morning to protect the park. They are not evicted.
October 15—Occupy Wall Street expands across the country and the globe. Rallies take place in Sydney (Australia), Hong Kong and Taipei (China), Tokyo (Japan), Paris (France), Madrid (Spain), Berlin (Germany) and other cities.