The anti-corporate protest – Occupy movement – which began in New York City two weeks ago, have spread across US, with demonstrations occurring in Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, Denver and Seattle.
Sparked by the Occupy Wall Street movement, which has seen thousands of protesters camped out in New York’s Financial District for the past two weeks, mass gatherings have started nationwide, with the unified purpose of voicing anger at the U.S. banking and political systems.
The protests against corporate America in New York City entered its fifteenth day today, as the city’s residents began to increasingly feel the effect of a mass gathering that began as little more than a dozen students.
In Los Angeles, several hundred protesters marched from Pershing Square to City Hall on Saturday, and said they would remain camped at the site “indefinitely”, like their New York counterparts.
Organized by a group called Occupy LA, the demonstrators echoed the refrain begun by those on the East Coast, saying they hoped to change economic polices that benefit the richest 1% of Americans.
Demonstrators waved signs, including one that read “The Banks Ate My Baby”, and chanted “Hey hey, ho ho, corporate welfare’s got to go”, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“In the end, what we want to do is inspire working-class people to get involved in the political process,” Adam Liszkiewics, a 32-year-old USC graduate student, told the Los Angeles Times.
The Occupy Boston movement appears the most well-developed of the off-shoot protests, with a sizeable camp, featuring tents, medical supplies and even wi-fi, setting up at Dewey Square, across from the Federal Reserve building.
Tactical groups have been formed, covering legal affairs, food and media outreach, and a crowd in the spot had reached nearly 1,000 on Friday night on the first day of protest, the Boston Herald reported.
Key organizers said they had been to New York to learn from the protests. Matthew Krawitz, an unemployed I.T. expert, told how he had been in Manhattan for the first day of the demonstrations there and wanted to replicate the scene in Boston.
There were other protests in the city over the weekend, including one outside the Bank of America aimed at expressing people’s anger at foreclosures and the announcement the bank will charge customers $5 a month to use debit cards to access their own money. It resulted in 24 arrests.
President Barack Obama’s old stomping ground has been gripped by the “Occupy” movement as well. A group of activists have gathered in front of the Federal Reserve Bank Chicago as part of a rally to protest against poverty and unemployment in the U.S.
The Chicago sit-in began on September 23 with a march from Willis Tower to the bank, the Chicago Tribune reported, with some protesters calling it their Tahrir Square, in reference to the Egyptian capital Cairo.
One demonstrator, Emilio Baez, told Press TV the protest is a “direct call to working people worldwide”.
“This is our Tahrir Square,” he said of the spot which led to a revolution in the African country. “We’ll stay here for months if we have to.”
Meanwhile, more than 100 people turned out for Occupy Seattle on Saturday, with protesters waving signs and mingling peacefully with police.
The demonstrators, however, are only beginning to coalesce and they acknowledge that they need to clarify their goals. Like their New York counterparts, the protesters are seeking for a place in Seattle’s financial district to camp out for the winter.
Denver had its first protest on Saturday, with demonstrators telling 9News that they are a leaderless resistance movement of people who will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of Wall Street.
Further “Occupy” protests are planned for San Francisco, Washington DC, Phoenix and Albuquerque.
In New York, the protesters, who have been camping out in Manhattan’s Financial District, say their movement has grown and become more organized over the last couple of weeks and they have no intention of stopping.
The Occupy Wall Street demonstration started out small, with less than a dozen college students, but has grown to include thousands of people in communities across the country.
Now entering its third week in Manhattan, those spending their days and nights at Zuccotti Park said they’re going to stay as long as they can.
Yesterday, the Brooklyn Bridge was shut down and more than 700 people arrested after protesters camping out near Wall Street spilled onto the New York landmark and blocked traffic.
In a tense showdown, police took swift action – cuffing and dragging hundreds to the sidings – after many of the protesters risked being hit by cars by moving from the walkway on to the road.
A large group of marchers, who are rallying against corporate greed, broke off from others on the bridge’s pedestrian walkway and headed across the Brooklyn-bound lanes.
In two separate videos released by police, officers are heard warning protesters that they will be arrested if they strayed from the path and onto the roadway.
A police captain is heard saying: “I’m ordering you to leave this roadway now. If you do so voluntarily, no charges will be placed against you. If you refuse to leave, you’ll be placed under arrest and charged with disorderly conduct. If you do not wish to be arrested, you must leave this area now.”
The videos emerged as a film of protesters coming face to face with the subjects of their ire attracted more than 230,000 views on YouTube.