Latest developments in the Occupy protests

AP News

11/8/2011 5:16:44 PM - AP News

Some of the latest developments in the Occupy protests:

NEW YORK

Music and marching orders accompanied election day at the Occupy Wall Street protest at lower Manhattan's Zuccotti Park.

David Crosby and Graham Nash, of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, brought a little Woodstock to the plaza with an acoustic set for about 1,000 protesters and onlookers.

"It's wild, how things line up," said Tyler Westcott, 19, a college student from Hunt, N.Y. "What you have here is the New Left from the Vietnam era _ and the new left here now."

Also Tuesday, a small group of activists announced plans to begin a march Wednesday from the park to Washington in hopes of arriving Nov. 23, the deadline for a congressional committee to decide whether to keep President Barack Obama's extension of Bush-era tax cuts. Protesters say the cuts benefit only rich Americans.

The march idea was inspired by the kind of long-distance walks led by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. during the civil rights era. Protesters say they'll overnight by camping or at volunteered accommodations.

It was election day in the United States on Tuesday, with many local races and some higher profile races being decided in several states.

Across the nation, some protesters said it was important to be part of the process, while others questioned whether their votes mean much and saying the candidates aren't saying things they want to vote for.

RHODE ISLAND

Rhode Island's junior senator is trying to harness anger against big banks with a legislative effort to crack down on sky-high credit card interest rates he calls "grotesque."

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, who this week visited the Occupy protesters' encampment in Providence, is introducing a bill that would close a loophole under which credit card companies are effectively able to avoid state-level caps on interest rates _ and charge as much as 30 percent in some cases.

"This is something that has gone unchecked for far too long," Whitehouse said on the Senate floor Tuesday.

Whitehouse says consumer anger is a "live issue." In an interview with The Associated Press, he referenced the recent backlash over Bank of America debit card charges, a plan that was dropped last week. He also noted "Bank Transfer Day," held nationwide on Saturday, an effort to get customers of big banks to close their accounts in protest of high fees and what they call unfair lending practices.

Whitehouse is a first-term Democrat from Newport who is facing re-election in 2012.

BRITAIN

Many managers in London's financial services industry believe some of their colleagues are paid too much, while a majority say they are motivated more by salary and bonuses than enjoyment at work, a poll says.

The poll, commissioned by the St. Paul's Institute at St. Paul's Cathedral, found that 66 percent of the sample thought bond traders earned too much and 63 percent said chief executives of the top 100 British corporations were overpaid.

The poll results showed three-fourths of respondents saying the gap between rich and poor was too large in Britain, and 70 percent thought teachers were underpaid.

Two-thirds of respondents said that salary and bonuses was their most important motivation, with "enjoyment of work" ranked second.

The ComRes poll, released Monday, was based on online responses of 515 managers in the finance industry between Aug. 30 and Sept. 12, more than a month before St. Paul's became the scene an Occupy Wall Street demonstration. The company said the poll's margin of error is plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.

NEW JERSEY

Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson granted a temporary restraining order against the state of New Jersey, ordering police to return items confiscated from protesters in Trenton and rejecting some rules imposed on them.

The American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey had sued on behalf of protesters, who claim their freedom of speech was infringed on when troopers confiscated items they considered unattended at a memorial across from the Statehouse.

The ACLU says the state made up park rules after the protests started. The rules prohibit visitors from taking camping and picnicking items, such as coolers, chairs and tables, among other things.

The state argued that such items have cluttered the memorial and that unattended belongings could pose a security risk to the Statehouse.

The judge ruled Monday.

CANADA

The public square in front of the city hall in Halifax, Nova Scotia, went unoccupied Tuesday for the first time in nearly a month as protesters moved their encampment ahead of ceremonies for Remembrance Day, Canada's version of Veterans Day.

Protester Corey Samoila said he spent the night tearing down tents and helped provide security because tension grew.

"Because of the move, some people got a little hostile," Samoila said. "It got interesting, but we managed to calm everything down."

The protesters pitched tents at Victoria Park, a few blocks away.

INDIANA

A central Indiana sheriff says a fire that rousted Occupy Muncie protesters from their position on the county building plaza was an accident caused by negligence.

Delaware County Sheriff Mike Scroggins reported investigators' preliminary findings to the county commissioners Monday.

The Star Press of Muncie reported that the fire Friday destroyed a park bench and some protesters' belongings. An investigator says the fire apparently started in a sleeping bag or blanket that was smoldering under the bench.