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Hundreds Gather for Wall Street Protests

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Many demonstrators argue that corporations have too much sway over public officials

Hundreds of demonstrators marched through the Financial District Sunday as part of Occupy Wall Street, an event organized by activists critical of corporate influence over politics and demanding higher taxes on high-income individuals.

"We got sold out, banks got bailed out!" demonstrators shouted in unison. The demonstrators had hoped to enter Wall Street but were blocked by the NYPD.

Organizers of the event had initially called for 20,000 people to descend upon the area. Despite the lower-than-expected turnout, those who did attend seemed undeterred.

"What I've seen, in the past few days here, is that the people have taken very, very well to this," said Craig Breitsprecher, who slept overnight in Zucotti Park, along with others. "You know, we've been getting a thumbs-up from everybody walking by in the street. If we're drawing awareness to it, if we're getting sympathy from the general populace, that's a win for us."

One of the organizers of the event, Justin Wedes of the New York City General Assembly, said demonstrators were inspired by the Arab Spring, as well as pro-labor crowds in Madison, Wisc., earlier this year. He noted that a number of cities around the world held "solidarity actions in parallel with" the New York event.

Some participants said they would return to Wall Street on Monday, in hopes of disrupting the morning routines of employees showing up to work. The event began on Saturday.

Participants of the event cited a number of motivating issues, ranging from the environment to social justice concerns, but many were disturbed by the Supreme Court ruling in the Citizens United case last year, arguing that it would grant corporations too much sway over the political process.

Dan Morley waved a sign attacking the decision, which he said would effectively allow corporations "to buy politicians, because any of the politicians who don't toe the corporate line, won't get the requisite funds to be able to afford air time."

WNYC/Arun Venugopal
Demonstrators marching through the financial district
Many demonstrators argue that corporations have too much sway over public officials
WNYC/Arun Venugopal
After marching, demonstrators jammed out in Zucotti Park
At Zucotti park, musicians led the crowd in chants
WNYC/Arun Venugopal
A masked demonstrator, at work on a sign
Yvonne Gougelet, as a modern-day Marie Antoinette
WNYC/Arun Venugopal
WNYC/Arun Venugopal
A weary demonstrator, receiving a massage

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Comments [2]

tom from Brooklyn

I have never been more incensed by wnyc's coverage of something that really matters. On my way home today, they reported that "this is a group of students wearing tie-dyed clothing," and they closed with the completely ridiculous remark to the effect that most of the protesters didn't seem to have jobs...which was pitched in a way that suggested precisely the opposite of what it might have meant.

I am a 39 year old college professor, and whomever wrote the copy for this article should seriously reconsider their career. More importantly, this is perhaps the most important and interesting idea/movement in recent history. Perhaps there aren't the numbers there that should be, but I guarantee you there will be in the coming days (particularly after the UN is done). So, please, please, a bit more coverage, and nothing so patronizing and silly. Please. You are, as Princess Leia once said in a different context, "our only hope." (which is mostly true...)

Sep. 22 2011 04:05 AM
ericka

Considering the damage the financials inflict on the US, there should be thousands and thousands camped out in front of the Exchange--disruptive, embarrassing--with tents, soup kitchens, underfed kids running amok, in full view of media and tourists; if only to show we're not asleep at the wheel, which we mostly are.

Sep. 19 2011 04:23 PM

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