Sunday, October 16, 2011

About 175 arrested early Sunday in Chicago protest

Police arrested around 175 protesters early on Sunday in a downtown Chicago park where demonstrators set up an encampment in sympathy with the Occupy Wall Street movement that sparked weekend demonstrations around the world.
The protests stretched into Sunday in London, where about 250 people set up camp outside St Paul's Cathedral, vowing to occupy the site indefinitely to show their anger at bankers and politicians over the global economic crisis.
The Chicago protests drew more than 2,000 people, while in New York and Los Angeles, marches attracted roughly about 5,000 people each.
Demonstrations were held in dozens of other cities, including Washington, Boston, Los Angeles, Miami and Toronto.
The protests, in Asia and Europe as well on Saturday, were mostly peaceful apart from in Rome, where the demonstration sparked riots.
In London, protesters were gathered in front of the famed St Paul's Cathedral, located next to a square housing the London Stock Exchange.
"People are saying enough is enough, we want a real democracy, not one that is based on the interests of big business and the banking system," protester Jane McIntyre said.
American protesters are angry that U.S. banks are enjoying booming profits after getting bailouts in 2008, while many ordinary Americans are struggling to stay afloat in a difficult economy with more than 9 percent unemployment.
In New York, where the movement began when protesters set up camp in a Lower Manhattan park on September 17, 92 demonstrators were arrested early on Sunday and on Saturday for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, police said.
More than a dozen were demonstrators arrested in Washington Square Park for violating the park's midnight curfew.
In Chicago, the protesters were arrested after they stayed in the city park after it closed and ignored repeated warnings to leave, police said.
Some protesters said they were pleased with the turnout, although some marches were smaller than organizers had expected.
Occupy LA organizer Clark Davis was exuberant over the 5,000 people who marched through the streets of Los Angeles and gathered peacefully outside City Hall.
"Wow, they really showed up," he said.
But in New York, Troy Simmons, a production manager for a health food business, said he was surprised the turnout was not larger.
"People don't want to get involved. They'd rather watch on TV," he said.
It remained unclear if the movement, largely driven using social media, would sustain its momentum. Critics have accused the group of not having clear goals.
The protesters say they are upset that the billions of dollars in bank bailouts doled out during the recession allowed banks to resume earning huge profits while average Americans have had little relief from high unemployment and job insecurity.
They also believe the richest 1 percent of Americans do not pay their fair share in taxes and want a more equitable economic system.

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