Obama Says Wall Street Protests Express Public Anger

President Barack Obama said demonstrators protesting against Wall Street and economic inequality are expressing the frustrations of the American public.

Speaking at a White House news conference on Thursday, Obama said he understands the public's concerns about how the nation's financial system works. It was the first time he weighed in on the protests, which began in New York City on September 17 and have led to related demonstrations popping up around the country.

“I think people are frustrated and the protesters are giving voice to a more broad-based frustration about how our financial system works,” Obama said.

Meanwhile, the city's top cop, Commissioner Ray Kelly, said protesters can continue to remain in Zuccotti Park for as long as they remain peaceful because zoning rules at the time it was created, in the early 1970s, required it to be open 24-hours a day.

Already, police have spent $2 million on overtime to patrol the demonstrations.    

Also speaking on Thursday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said people are "very frustrated" with the economy and the seeming inability of the government to that the government to fix the problem.

"People are upset," he said. "They don't quite know where to go."

With the Associated Press