For Immediate Release
Beka Economopoulos, 917-202-5479
Jonathan Smucker, 717-209-0445
Bill Dobbs, 917-822-5422
Thousands Occupy Wall Street
All Entry Points to New York Stock Exchange Blockaded
NEW YORK - Thousands marched on Wall Street this morning, blockading all entry points to the New York Stock Exchange. 'People's mics' have been breaking out at barricades, with participants sharing stories of struggling in an unfair economy.
"I paid taxes and took care of my responsibility, and I'm struggling," said participant, Leah Lackner, 27, who had taken the day off work as a mental health counselor to join the protest. Her sign read: "I played by the rules."
57-year-old bond trader Gene Williams joked that he was “one of the bad guys” and said supportively, “The fact of the matter is, there is a schism between the rich and the poor and it's getting wider."
Participant and small business owner Jonathan Smucker confronted a Wall Street financial firm executive who held a sign that said 'get a job': "Ten percent of Americans are looking for work, most Americans are struggling, and you stand smugly in your suit and say to 'get a job'. You're insulting just about everyone in your country," Smucker said.
At least 200 people have been arrested so far for peaceful assembly and nonviolent civil disobedience, including retired Philadelphia Police Captain Ray Lewis. "All the cops are just workers for the one percent, and they don't even realize they're being exploited," Mr. Lewis said. "As soon as I'm let out of jail, I'll be right back here and they'll have to arrest me again."
Today marks two months since the start of Occupy Wall Street at Liberty Square. This movement has taken inspiration from global movements for social justice and democracy, including the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia. Occupy Wall Street, labor and community groups, and members of the 99% are celebrating the two-month anniversary of the movement here with a massive day of action.
"Our political system should serve all of us — not just the very rich and powerful. Right now Wall Street owns Washington," said participant Beka Economopoulos. "We are the 99% and we are here to reclaim our democracy."
In the wake of Bloomberg’s predawn raid of Occupy Wall Street on Tuesday morning, thousands of people throughout the five boroughs and the greater region are converging today to take peaceful action. Thousands are also taking action in at least 30 cities across the country.
7:00am — underway
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Occupy the Subway
Contact: Tamara Shapiro, 608-345-0369
We will gather at 3:00pm at 16 central subway hubs and take our own stories to the trains, using the "People's Mic". Details at http://occupywallst.org/
At 5:00pm thousands will gather at Foley Square in solidarity with laborers demanding jobs to rebuild this country's infrastructure and economy. They will encircle City Hall and march across the Brooklyn Bridge, carrying thousands of handheld lights, as a festival of lights to celebrate two months of a new movement to reclaim our democracy.
Resist austerity. Rebuild the economy. Reclaim our democracy.
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Occupy Wall Street is a people-powered movement that began on September 17, 2011 in Liberty Square in Manhattan’s Financial District, and has spread to more than 100 cities in the United States and actions in over 1,500 cities globally. For more visit http://occupywallst.org