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Thousands of protesters fill NYC's Times Square

By Chris Hawley

Associated Press

Published: Saturday, Oct. 15 2011 6:16 p.m. MDT

Among the people participating in that march was Sergio Jimenez, 25, who said he quit his job in Texas to come to New York to protest.

"These wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were all based on lies," Jimenez said. "And if we're such an intelligent country, we should figure out other ways to respond to terror, instead of with terror."

Elsewhere in the country, nearly 1,500 gathered Saturday for a march past banks in downtown Orlando. About 50 people met in a park in downtown Jackson, Miss., carrying signs calling for "Health Care Not Warfare."

Some made more considerable commitments to try to get their voices heard. Nearly 200 spent a cold night in tents in Grand Circus Park in Detroit, donning gloves, scarves and heavy coats to keep warm, said Helen Stockton, a 34-year-old certified midwife from Ypsilanti, and plan to remain there "as long as it takes to effect change."

"It's easy to ignore us," Stockton said. Then she referred to the financial institutions, saying, "But we are not going to ignore them. Every shiver in our bones reminds us of why we are here."

Hundreds more converged near the Michigan's Capitol in Lansing with the same message, the Lansing State Journal reported.

Rallies drew young and old, laborers and retirees. In Pittsburgh, marchers also included parents with children in strollers and even a doctor. The peaceful crowd of 1,500 to 2,000 stretched for two or three blocks.

"I see our members losing jobs. People are angry," said Janet Hill, 49, who works for the United Steelworkers, which she said hosted a sign-making event before the march.

Retired teacher Albert Siemsen of Milwaukee said at a demonstration there that he'd grown angry watching school funding get cut at the same time that banks and corporations gained more influence in government. The 81-year-old wants to see tighter Wall Street regulation.

Around him, protesters held signs reading, "Keep your corporate hands off my government," and "Mr. Obama, Tear Down That Wall Street."

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick visited protesters in Boston's Dewey Square for the first time. He said after walking through the camp that he better understands the range of views and was sympathetic to concerns about unemployment, health care and the influence of money in politics.

In Denver, about 1,000 people came to a rally in downtown Denver to support the movement.

The Rev. Al Sharpton led a march in Washington that was not affiliated with the Occupy movement but shared similar goals. His rally was aimed at drumming up support for President Barack Obama's jobs plan. Thousands of demonstrators packed the lawn in the shadow of the Washington Monument to hear labor, education and civil rights leaders speak.

Associated Press writers Kevin Begos in Pittsburgh, Eric Tucker in Washington, Jay Lindsay in Boston, Corey Williams in Detroit, Dinesh Ramde in Milwaukee and Jack Elliott Jr. in Jackson, Miss., Charmaine Noronha in Toronto, and Colleen Long, David B. Caruso and AP Radio correspondent Martin Di Caro in New York contributed to this report.

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