Occupy SF protesters gain support

Occupy San Francisco protesters gain support
October 6, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Around the country, the Occupy Wall Street movement appears to be picking up steam. More than 1,000 people took to the streets of Downtown Los Angeles Thursday, demanding banks to do more to help taxpayers and help struggling homeowners. Police arrested 10 protestors who occupied a Bank of America and refused to leave. Las Vegas saw its first protest on Thursday when hundreds of people peacefully marched from the New York, New York casino down the strip, calling for an end to corporate greed.

On Wednesday night in San Francisco an encampment was set up, but the police swept through and removed tents, sleeping bags and other items. They arrested one person.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said he will work with the police chief to ensure the city responds appropriately to these demonstrations. He went on to say, "While allowing for peaceful protests, we must also ensure that our streets and sidewalks remain safe and accessible for everyone."

At 101 Market Street people left food and other items to show their support.

Wednesday, hundreds of people marched against what they call the social and economic inequalities in this country and the influence of corporate money on the government.

Marianne Koch of Golden Gate University says most Americans can identify with the Occupy Wall Street movement.

"Underemployed people, unemployed people, older people who feel like their pensions are gone, or whose pensions are gone, people who can't get health care at their work, if they have work, people who have lost their homes or are worried about losing their homes," said Koch.

"When the housing market collapsed, the house was worth half of what I owed on it. So I called up the bank and asked if they would refinance, or work with me or something, and they refused to," said Mark Schwetz who lost his home in Petaluma.

The movement started in New York just three weeks ago. Some are already making comparisons to the social protests of the 1960s.

"They don't feel like their politicians are representing them, they feel like they just have to be loud and they want everyone to come out and join them," said Koch.

Politicians are responding. On Tuesday GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney said he thought it was dangerous and called it class warfare.

This morning Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo, tweeted: "Romney calls #OccupyWallStreet class warfare, I call it democracy."

Even the Federal Reserve Chief Ben Bernanke has reacted.

"And they're dissatisfied with the policy response here in Washington and at some level, I can't blame them," said Bernanke.

But as with most causes, people are ready to make a buck, items with the Occupy Wall Street message are being sold on eBay.

Ruth Maguire of Berkeley says she's inspired by what she has seen.

"It is the young and they know it's their future and they are fighting for it. I wish I could have left them a better one," said Maguire.


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