Occupy Wall Street is not your average protest. Demonstrators, who have been camped out in New York for nearly four weeks, say that they have no plans to stop their mission and the protests have spread to over two dozen cities around the country.
The movement, once limited to around 1,000 people in the Big Apple’s financial district, has expanded far beyond its starting point in lower Manhattan to 25 cities ranging from Washington, D.C., to Chicago, and from Fort Myers, Florida, to Portland, Oregon. The acts have recently caught the attention of political leaders on both sides and now politicians and even entertainers are weighing in.
"I support the message to the establishment, whether it's Wall Street or the political establishment and the rest, that change has to happen," said House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.
Pelosi wasn’t the only one showing support, however. On Monday, rapper Kanye West made an appearance alongside with entrepreneur and hip hop impresario Russell Simmons. Simmons was there to appear on Rev. Al Sharpton’s radio show, which the MSNBC prime-time host was broadcasting live from the New York rally.
"We are here today because we agree one percent should not be controlling the (nation's) wealth," Sharpton said on his nationally syndicated show. "These (demonstrators) are regular people trying to feed their families, trying to pay their rent and mortgages, trying to survive."
Since mid-September the protestors have bombarded streets railing against a range of topics including what they call corporate greed, political ineptitude and the inordinate power wielded by America's wealthiest people.
"Even as banks got bailed out, American children have witnessed their parents get tossed out of their homes and lose their jobs. Public school kids have lost arts, music and physical education," the movement's website said. "Now our kids can see activists take these issues to the streets in a democratic forum at Occupy Wall Street."
This afternoon the New York demonstrators, who have mainly been confined to Lower Manhattan, plan to meet at Fifth Avenue and 59th Street near Central Park and high-end retail shops. The protest will pass the homes of business executives like JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, billionaire David Koch and News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch.
Similar protests, including an Occupy Aspen rally, will take place on Oct. 22 and an Occupy Detroit rally will take place on Oct. 14.
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(Photo: Shannon Stapleton / Reuters)