Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

Protesters target millionaire homes

A protester stands with a US dollar bill taped over his mouth in Zuccotti Park in New York (AP)

Hundreds of anti-Wall Street protesters held a "Millionaires March" past the homes of some of the wealthiest executives in America, stopping to jeer "Tax the rich!" and "Where's my bailout?"

Walking two-by-two on the pavement because they had no march permit and did not want to be charged with blocking traffic, members of the Occupy Wall Street movement and other groups made their way up Manhattan's East Side, along streets such as Fifth Avenue and Park Avenue where some of the richest 1% of the population live in townhouses and luxury apartments.

They paused outside buildings where media mogul Rupert Murdoch, banker Jamie Dimon and oil tycoon David Koch have homes, and decried the impending expiration of New York's 2% "millionaires' tax" in December.

"I have nothing against these people personally. I just think they should pay their fair share of taxes," said Michael Pollack, an office worker in a law firm.

He held up a sign with a saying attributed to department store founder Edward Filene: "Why shouldn't the American people take half my money from me? I took all of it from them."

For the past three and a half weeks, protesters have besieged a park in lower Manhattan near Wall Street, condemning corporate greed and the gap between rich and poor.

The uptown march marked the first time the Occupy Wall Street movement had identified specific people as being part of the 1% the demonstrators say are getting rich at the expense of the rest of America.

When the march reached Park Avenue and East 93rd Street, protesters stopped in front of a building where they said Mr Dimon, JPMorgan Chase's chairman and chief executive, has an apartment. JPMorgan was among the banks that received a federal bailout, money it has since repaid.

The Occupy Wall Street protests in Manhattan's Zuccotti Park have spread to other cities, including Atlanta, Chicago, Philadelphia, Seattle and Los Angeles, and have become a political issue, with Republicans accusing the demonstrators of waging "class war" and President Barack Obama saying he understands their frustrations.

The protest in New York City came as the state comptroller issued a report showing that Wall Street is again losing jobs because of global economic woes. The job losses threaten tax revenue for a city and state heavily reliant on the financial industry.

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