New York protest tries to kick off revival of Occupy movement

Reuters News
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Posted: Feb 29, 2012 12:18 PM
New York protest tries to kick off revival of Occupy movement

By Gianna Palmer

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A few dozen Occupy Wall Street protestors marched on the world headquarters of pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. on Wednesday, a lukewarm kick off to a nationwide day of revival for the movement loosely organized around denouncing economic inequality.

Police on motorcycles escorted the peaceful but loud group of about 50 protestors marching from the park outside the New York Public Library to nearby Pfizer, close to Grand Central Terminal.

"Shame on Pfizer! You're a bunch of liars!" chanted the protestors as they milled around barricades in front of Pfizer, the world's largest drug maker, and were watched by about 50 police officers.

Pfizer officials were not immediately available for comment.

Coast to coast demonstrations were slated for Wednesday to decry corporations that lobby for legislation to create tax breaks and other benefits for large businesses.

The actions were aimed at revving up the movement known as "Occupy," which has been relatively quiet in the months since police cleared encampments in New York, Oakland and other major cities.

A rallying cry of the movement has been that 1 percent of the population has too much of the nation's wealth and the remaining 99 percent is disadvantaged.

Pfizer was awarded a mock prize for "Excellence in Profiteering" by the group before it marched back in the rain to Bryant Park outside the library, carrying signs reading "People over profit" and "Healthcare is a human right" as well as "I'm a doctor for the 99 percent."

Hoisting a sign reading "I can't afford to get sick" was Jennifer Roberts, 44, a painter who lives in Jersey City, New Jersey.

"I've lived the bulk of my adult working life without insurance," said Roberts, who is single and therefore not covered by a spouse's health insurance either. "I feel it's very important to pursue a single payer system for this country."

Protestor Paul Layton, 59, a lawyer who lives in New York City, wore a yellow button reading "Healthcare for the 99 percent."

"I have to make a choice between keeping my office open and keeping my health insurance," said Layton who is also single and uninsured.

(Editing By Barbara Goldberg and Paul Thomasch)