Occupy COMO supports Wall Street protest

Tuesday, September 27, 2011 | 9:01 p.m. CDT; updated 9:12 p.m. CDT, Thursday, October 13, 2011
Jef Hamby, Ariel Burkhardt and Vernice Santos hold up signs in front of Columbia City Hall Tuesday evening. The group has named its protest Occupy CoMo as an offshoot of the Occupy Wall Street movement that has spread internationally.

A group of protesters stood in front of Columbia City Hall Tuesday evening. The group has named itself "Occupy CoMo," an offshoot of the "Occupy Wall Street" protest in New York.

The New York protesters are camping out in a lower Manhattan plaza to speak out against corporate greed and social inequality. They got a morale boost Monday from filmmaker activist Michael Moore, who told the crowd they were the start of something big.

"It warms my heart to see all of you here," Moore told the few hundred people gathered at Zuccotti Park. He told them they each represented thousands of other Americans, and to not lose heart, that "our power is derived from the people."

He railed against Wall Street and the richest of the rich, saying "they have tried to take our democracy and turn it into a 'kleptocracy.'"

The protest is in its second week. Moore, an outspoken critic of Wall Street and its role in the economic downturn, arrived in the evening.

"These people on Wall Street ripped off the future of many of these young people here and their not-yet-born children," he said. "It was the greatest heist, certainly of my lifetime. This protest has to start somewhere, and it might as well have started here."

While the main focus of "Occupy Wall Street" is centered on the financial world, those camping out in the park speak to causes covering the political and social spectrum, including supporters of Ron Paul and the anti-war activists of the Granny Peace Brigade. The protest has also included marches, with mixed results. On Saturday, about 80 people were arrested in tense and sometimes physical interactions with police.

Video of some of the arrests were posted online and included scenes that appeared to show officers using pepper spray on women who already were cordoned off and officers handcuffing a man after pulling him up off the ground, blood trickling down his face. The police have said the response was appropriate to the situation. However, Occupy CoMo was protesting Tuesday against this police violence.

A march Monday night in New York was not confrontational.

Jef Hamby lifts up his Guy Fawkes mask to explain the Occupy CoMo movement to a passerby. Hamby is protesting police violence against Occupy Wall Street protesters in New York.

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Jeremy Calton September 28, 2011 | 1:11 p.m.

Since the Tea Party claims it was a nonpartisan grassroots movement started to protest Wall Street bailouts, you'd think there'd be a lot of Tea Partyers at these things, and heavy round-the-clock sympathetic media coverage from pundits, bloggers, and news media on the right, just as there was for the Tea Parties.

Well, that's quite a conundrum. If only I could think of an explanation for it all.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz September 28, 2011 | 1:24 p.m.

I think the reason is that the Wall Street protests are not focused on just the bailouts, but what the protesters think of Wall Street in general.

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