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S. Fla. ‘Occupy’ Movements Hold First Assembly

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MIAMI (CBS4)- Occupy groups in South Florida, specifically Fort Lauderdale and Miami, gathered Saturday to join the ‘Occupy’ movement that’s spreading to cities across America.

Occupy Fort Lauderdale and Occupy Miami is taking a cue from Occupy Wall Street, an ongoing protest against corporate influence on U.S. politics (among other things) headquartered in the heart of the Lower Manhattan Financial District. Other cities, including Boston, Los Angeles and Chicago have already followed suit.

According to Occupy Fort Lauderdale’s facebook page, the group met for their first assembly in front of the Broward Main Public Library at 100 S. Andrews Avenue on Saturday from 6 to 9 p.m. They’ve asked participants to bring their “ideas and passion for change so we can plan to occupy Fort Lauderdale’s financial district.”

“Basically, I think it’s grown out of general discontent, economic discontent, unemployment, general class relation relation stuff,” said Occupy Fort Lauderdale organizer Evan Rowe.

Rowe continued saying, “There seems to be a toleration of it for a while when there’s just a boiling point where maybe it’s not going to be tolerated.

Occupy Miami participants met Saturday at 2:30 p.m., at Miami-Dade’s Wolfson campus.

On Saturday, October 2, approximately 200 local activists met in Bayfront Park to vent their anger at corporate greed, cuts to education, the bank bailouts, the Federal Reserve, unemployment and innumerable other issues, CBS4 news partner the Miami Herald reported. Occupy Miami also has their own facebook page as a medium for those interested in participating.

On Thursday during his news conference, President Barack Obama said protesters are expressing “the frustration that the American people feel.”

“Yes, I think people are frustrated and the protesters are giving voice to a more broad-based frustration about how our financial sector works,” Obama said.

“Right now, this is a broad-based ‘we’re mad as hell, we want things fixed,'” said Nova Southeastern University History Professor Charles Zedon.

The collective group, Occupy Wall Street, said they are a “leaderless resistance movement with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions. The one thing we all have in common is that we are the 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%. We are using the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic to achieve our ends and encourage the use of nonviolence to maximize the safety of all participants.”

Professor Zeldon said the movement is similar to the Tea Party when it began.

“This new movement is blaming big business, it’s blaming the banks, it’s blaming corporate America, saying you’re the ones who got us into this mess we don’t like and we’re going to show our discontent by marching, by protesting, by being visible,” Zeldon said.

Zeldon said that if the Occupy Wall Street movement is to grow, it will have to focus on key issues and look for support amongst other groups. Unions in New York are joining in with the movement.

For a list of events across the U.S. visit Occupy Together’s Web site.

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