Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

Finance protests spread across US

An Anti-Wall Street demonstrator marches in downtown Los Angeles (AP)

Protests against Wall Street have spread across the US as demonstrators marched on Federal Reserve banks and camped out in parks from Los Angeles to Portland, Maine, in a show of anger over the wobbly economy and what they see as corporate greed.

In Manhattan, 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 and Kansas City, Missouri.

The arrests of 700 protesters on the Brooklyn Bridge over the weekend galvanized a slice of discontented America, from college students worried about their job prospects to middle-age workers who have been recently laid off.

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.

"I've felt this way for a long time. I've really just kind of been waiting for a movement to come along that I thought would last and have some resonation within the community," said Steven Harris, a laid-off truck driver in Kansas City.

Mr Harris and about 20 other people were camped out in a park across the street from the Kansas City Federal Reserve building, their site strewn with sleeping bags, clothes and handmade signs. Some passing drivers honked in support.

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 Exchange. Since then, hundreds have set up camp in a park nearby and have become increasingly organised, 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 Brooklyn Bridge. Police said they took five more protesters into custody yesterday, though it was unclear whether they had been charged with any crime.

Wiljago Cook, of Oakland, California, who joined the New York protest on the first day, said she was shocked by the arrests.

Latest News

Latest Sport

Latest Showbiz