6 Oct 2011

Wall Street protest grows to over 5,000

Unions joined protesters on Wall Street for the first time, in the biggest demonstration of the three week campaign so far.

Nurses, transit workers and other union workers joined yesterday’s protest and students from nearby universities walked out of classes in solidarity.

Over 5,000 people joined the Occupy Wall Street march in lower Manhattan, while smaller protests were staged in cities across the United States. Union officials estimated the number of New York protestors at 8,000 to 12,000.

The anti-Wall Street action is against economic inequality and the 2008 bail-out of the banks, which protesters say resulted in high unemployment and job insecurity for the average American.

“Our workers are excited about this movement. The country has been turned upside down,” said United Federation of Teachers President, Michael Mulgrew. “We are fighting for families and children.”

The country has been turned upside down. We are fighting for families and children. Michael Mulgrew, United Federation of Teachers

While the protest was widely reported as being orderly, a dozen people were arrested in New York. One was charged with assault, and others were arrested for trying to break through a police barricade.

A small group of people started the anti-corporate protest in downtown Manhattan on September 17 and it has been growing in number every since. Protests have also spread to Los Angeles, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Tampa and St Louis, among others and a protest is planned in Washington on Thursday.

The march attracted criticism from some quarters, including Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain. “To me, (these demonstrations) come across more as anti-capitalism,” he told the Wall Street Journal.

“Don’t blame Wall Street, don’t blame the big banks, if you don’t have a job and you’re not rich, blame yourself!” he said. “It is not a person’s fault because they succeeded; it is a person’s fault if they failed. And so this is why I don’t understand these demonstrations and what is it that they’re looking for.”