The “Occupy Wall Street” protesters, who have camped out in New York’s financial district since mid-September, were joined Wednesday by members of organized labor and community groups.
“They said they needed to rescue Wall Street and the Big Three automakers to stimulate the economy and that meant jobs. Three years later, there is still no jobs,” said one speaker.
The rally included truck drivers, teachers, nurses and transit workers, among others, protesting unemployment, corporate money’s influence in politics, and the 2008 bail-outs to big Wall Street banks. Bruce Hamilton is president of Local 1700 of the Amalgamated Transit Workers:
“We want to have a decent life. We want to save our planet. We want to have the right to decent transportation and clean air and water and a decent standard of living. That is being taken away from us by Wall Street, that is why we are here,” he said.
Protestors say that the United States is becoming a land ruled by a tiny financial elite – while 99 percent of Americans are finding it difficult to get jobs or pay the rent. Sandra Falwell is an organizer with the nurses’ union. She says people are increasingly unable to afford medical care. “We are nurses who come here from around the country who come here to support Occupy Wall Street. As you have probably heard from our movement, we are now saying that Wall Street has sold us out. In other words, Wall Street got bailed out, we got sold out,” she said.
The Occupy Wall Street protesters, mostly people in their 20s, marched uptown to join the labor-dominated rally near New York City Hall. A brass-band played celebratory music in the park as they arrived.
As the protests continue and spread to other U.S. cities, several Democratic members of Congress issued statements of support. And college students around the country staged walk-outs in support.