by Chris Hawley
October 4, 2011 by
Verena Dobnik, Karen Matthews, Cristian Salazar and Jennifer Peltz in New
York; Jim Suhr in St. Louis; David Sharp in Portland, Maine; Mark Pratt in
Boston; Patrick Walters in Philadelphia; Pete Yost in Washington; Bill
Draper in Kansas City, Mo.; Carla K. Johnson in Chicago, and Christina Hoag
and Robert Jablon in Los Angeles contributed to this report.
Protests against Wall Street entered their 18th
day Tuesday as demonstrators across the country show their anger over the
wobbly economy and what they see as corporate greed by marching on Federal
Reserve banks and camping out in parks from Los Angeles to Portland, Maine.
Rafael Franco, from Puerto Rico, holds up a sign on the corner of LaSalle
during an Occupy Chicago protest Monday, Oct. 3, 2011, in
"Occupy Chicago" protests started Monday near the Federal Reserve
Bank and Chicago Board of Trade,
as demonstrators speak out against
corporate greed and social inequality.
(Photo: Charles Rex Arbogast/AP)
Demonstrations are expected to continue throughout the week as more groups
hold organizational meetings and air their concerns on websites and through
In Manhattan on Monday, hundreds of protesters dressed as corporate zombies
in white face paint lurched past the New York Stock Exchange clutching
fistfuls of fake money
In Chicago, demonstrators pounded drums in the
city's financial district
Others pitched tents or waved protest
signs at passing cars in Boston, St. Louis, Kansas City, Mo., and
A slice of America's discontented, from college students worried about their
job prospects to middle-age workers who have been recently laid off, were
galvanized after the arrests of 700 protesters on the Brooklyn Bridge over
Some protesters likened themselves to the tea party movement - but with a
liberal bent - or to the
Arab Spring demonstrators who brought down their
rulers in the Middle East.
"We feel the power in Washington has actually been compromised by Wall
Street," said Jason Counts, a computer systems analyst and one of about
three dozen protesters in St. Louis.
"We want a voice, and our voice has
slowly been degraded over time."
The Occupy Wall Street protests started on September 17 with a few dozen
demonstrators who tried to pitch tents in front of the New York Stock
Since then, hundreds have set up camp in a park nearby and have
become increasingly organized, lining up medical aid and legal help and
printing their own newspaper, the
Occupied Wall Street Journal.
About 100 demonstrators were arrested on September 24 and some were
pepper-sprayed. On Saturday police arrested 700 on charges of disorderly
conduct and blocking a public street as they tried to march over the
Police said they took five more protesters into custody on
Monday, though it was unclear whether they had been charged with any crime.
"At this point, we don't anticipate wider unrest," said Tim Flannelly, an
FBI spokesman in New York, "but should it occur the city, including the NYPD
and the FBI, will deploy any and all resources necessary to control any
Flannelly said he does not expect the New York protests to develop into the
often-violent demonstrations that have rocked cities in the United Kingdom
since the summer.
But he said the FBI is,
"monitoring the situation and will
Wiljago Cook, of Oakland, Calif., who joined the New York protest on the
first day, said she was shocked by the arrests.
"Exposing police brutality wasn't even really on my agenda, but my eyes have
been opened," she said. She vowed to stay in New York "as long as it seems
City bus drivers sued the New York Police Department on Monday for
commandeering their buses and making them drive to the Brooklyn Bridge on
Saturday to pick up detained protesters.
"We're down with these protesters. We support the notion that rich folk are
not paying their fair share," said Transport Workers Union President John
Samuelsen. "Our bus operators are not going to be pressed into service to
arrest protesters anywhere."
The city's Law Department said the NYPD's actions were proper.
On Monday, the zombies stayed on the sidewalks as they wound through
Manhattan's financial district chanting,
"How to fix the deficit: End the
war, tax the rich!"
They lurched along with their arms in front of them.
Some yelled, "I smell money!"
Reaction was mixed from passers-by.
Roland Klingman, who works in the financial industry and was wearing a suit
as he walked through a raucous crowd of protesters, said he could sympathize
with the anti-Wall Street message.
"I don't think it's directed personally at everyone who works down here,"
Klingman said. "If they believe everyone down here contributes to policy
decisions, it's a serious misunderstanding."
Another man in a suit yelled at the protesters,
"Go back to work!"
declined to be interviewed.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a billionaire who made his fortune as a corporate
executive, has said the demonstrators are making a mistake by targeting Wall
"The protesters are protesting against people who make $40- or $50,000 a
year and are struggling to make ends meet. That's the bottom line. Those are
the people who work on Wall Street or in the finance sector," Bloomberg said
in a radio interview Friday.
Some protesters planned to travel to other cities to organize similar
John Hildebrand, a protester in New York from Norman, Okla., hoped to mount
a protest there after returning home Tuesday. Julie Levine, a protester in
Los Angeles, planned to go to Washington on Thursday.
Websites and Facebook pages with names like Occupy Boston and Occupy
Philadelphia have also sprung up to plan the demonstrations.
Hundreds of demonstrators marched from a tent city on a grassy plot in
downtown Boston to the Statehouse to call for an end of corporate influence
"Our beautiful system of American checks and balances has been thoroughly
trashed by the influence of banks and big finance that have made it
impossible for the people to speak," said protester Marisa Engerstrom, of
Somerville, Mass., a Harvard doctoral student.
The Boston demonstrators decorated their tents with hand-written signs
"Fight the rich, not their wars" and "Human need, not corporate
Some stood on the sidewalk holding up signs, engaging in debate with
passers-by and waving at honking cars. One man yelled "Go home!" from his
truck. Another man made an obscene gesture.
Patrick Putnam, a 27-year-old chef from Framingham, Mass., said he's
standing up for the 99 percent of Americans who have no say in what happens
"We don't have voices, we don't have lobbyists, so we've been pretty much
neglected by Washington," he said.
In Chicago, protesters beat drums on the corner near the Federal Reserve
Bank of Chicago. In Los Angeles, demonstrators hoping to get TV coverage
gathered in front of the courthouse where Michael Jackson's doctor is on
trial on manslaughter charges.
Protesters in St. Louis stood on a street corner a few blocks from the
shimmering Gateway Arch, carrying signs that read,
"How Did The Cat Get So
"You're a Pawn in Their Game"
"We Want The Sacks Of Gold Goldman
Sachs Stole From Us"
"Money talks, and it seems like money has all the power," said Apollonia
Childs. "I don't want to see any homeless people on the streets, and I don't
want to see a veteran or elderly people struggle. We all should have our
fair share. We all vote, pay taxes. Tax the rich."