Wall Street protests swell in N.Y.; 129 arrested in Boston

Townhall.com Staff
Posted: Oct 11, 2011 2:35 PM
Wall Street protests swell in N.Y.; 129 arrested in Boston

New York (CNN) -- A group of union-backed organizations joined the loosely defined Occupy Wall Street movement again Tuesday, leaving behind the confines of New York's financial district for the posh neighborhoods that dot Manhattan's Upper East Side, according to multiple group representatives.

Crowds also swelled in Lower Manhattan's Zuccotti Park, where demonstrators waved placards and chanted slogans attacking corporate greed and social inequality.

The union-organized march, meanwhile, took protesters past the homes of well-to-do residents like billionaire David Koch, News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch and JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon.

Organizations such as UnitedNY, the Strong Economy for All Coalition, the Working Families Party, and New York Communities for Change were accompanied by protesters typically based in Zuccotti Park, a privately owned park in New York's financial district.

The Upper East Side march was "in support" of the Occupy Wall Street movement, but was not organized by it, said T.J. Helmstetter, a spokesman for Working Families Party, a coalition of New York community and labor groups.

Protesters hopped on the subway, emerging at Fifth Avenue and 59th Street near Central Park, where organizers held a press conference that addressed both New York-centric themes, such as state taxes, and the movement's broader concerns of social inequity.

"We are the 99%," the group chanted, a reference to their insistence that most Americans lack the influence in their country's political and financial affairs enjoyed by the elite 1%.

In Boston, 129 protesters were arrested, mostly for "unlawful assembly and trespassing," said police spokesman Eddy Chrispin.

The group allegedly blocked traffic and refused to disperse while marching to "areas of the city where they hadn't been previously," he said.

Protesters have been occupying Dewey Square Park in downtown Boston, but expanded to the neighboring Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway on Monday night. Protesters were given a 1:30 a.m. deadline to move back to Dewey Square. Those who did not were arrested.

On Monday, hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons and the Rev. Al Sharpton added their celebrity to the Occupy Wall Street cause in New York.

Their visits came as the burgeoning movement continued to echo from coast to coast, voicing impassioned sentiments on a range of topics while railing against what protesters describe as corporate greed, political ineptitude and the inordinate power wielded by America's wealthiest people.

"We are here today because we agree 1% should not be controlling the (nation's) wealth," Sharpton said on his nationally syndicated radio program. "These (demonstrators) are regular people trying to feed their families, trying to pay their rent and mortgages, trying to survive."

The nationwide movement has been largely peaceful, though it has led to some skirmishes with police and arrests, particularly in New York and Washington. It has also stoked fervent public debate, including among politicians. Democrats have generally offered sympathy for protesters' concerns while several Republicans, among them 2012 presidential candidates Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich, have described the demonstrations as "class warfare."

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an independent, appeared Monday to soften his stance about the protests.

On Friday, he had said on WOR radio that some demonstrators were "trying to destroy the jobs of working people in the city" and suggested it could be only a matter of time before officials potentially put an end to the Zuccotti Park encampment. Speaking to CNN affiliate WCBS at a Columbus Day parade Monday, however, the mayor said the city now plans to allow the protesters to stay indefinitely.

"The bottom line is, people want to express themselves. As long as they obey the laws, we'll allow them to," he said.

The Occupy movement shows few signs of slowing down. Rallies and marches have been held in numerous towns and cities in recent days, with many more planned.

That includes a "Call to Action Against Banks" planned for Saturday, which New York's Occupy Wall Street announced on its Facebook site.

"No longer will banks take our homes. No longer will banks rob students of our future. No longer will banks destroy the environment. No longer will banks fund the misery of war. No longer will banks cause massive unemployment. And no longer will banks create and profit from economic crisis without a struggle," according to the online message Monday.

It then urges people to "visit your local Bank of America, Wells Fargo or Chase (branches) and let them know, we will not allow business as usual."

"We. Will. Occupy. Everywhere," the posting ends.