Protestors “Occupy” Miami – Again
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MIAMI (CBS4) – For a second day, protesters rallied outside the Government Center in Downtown Miami as Occupy Miami.
The 30 participants, who had taken part in Saturday’s rally, camped out overnight and rallied again on a soggy Sunday.
“Yeah I hardly got any sleep but that’s because I was inspired, you know it was a good thing I gues,” said Kimo Nour.
So how long was Nour willing to stay?
“As long as it takes to be recognized because right now we’ve been branded as a bunch of liberals hippies, just bums really,” said Nour, “We’re not, we’re people just like everyone else, we’re the 99 percent.”
The Occupy Miami event began at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Bayfront Park Amphitheatre. By 2 p.m. approximately 400 participants were in attendance. Later in the day hundreds turned to a thousand and the group marched to the Government Center in Downtown Miami.
“I think people are gonna revolt and take over and I think already the conservatives are running scared,” said Diane Lawrence, a protestor.
Most said they were fed up with the growing divide between the rich and the poor. Meredith Garstin’s husband is unemployed and times are tough for her family.
“I, myself as a homeowner, have to choose between putting food on my table and putting a roof over my head and I can’t afford just the basic things,” said Garstin.
Garstin and many others there said they’d like to see the financial gap close.
“We’re protesting against the bankers, the one percent, the managers,” said Alejandro Villarreal, a protestor. “They send jobs overseas. They send everything overseas. We can’t tax them and the middle class is paying actually all the taxes right now.”
On Friday, four protesters were arrested in Gainesville for trespassing after the city park had closed, the Associated Press reported.
In central Florida, Brook Hines was among more than 400 who arrived Saturday morning for an event in Orlando. More were expected to arrive by early afternoon.
“I felt like this was really helpful and about the most positive grass-roots activity I’ve seen in a long time,” said the 25-year-old marketing and public relations employee. “I think that it’s not the same kind of protest, attitude or movement as we’ve seen in the past.”
Occupy Miami participants also met last Saturday at Miami-Dade’s Wolfson campus for their first assembly.
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.
During a news conference earlier this month, 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 Florida Occupy movement is drawing support from the state legislature.
“I’ll definitely be out there as the movement picks up,” said state representative Dwight Bullard. “I have no problem supporting that.”
Bullard believes the movement may be necessary to finally change things.
“What the people want and what the people are yearning for is a democracy that works in their best interest and if this is how it has to get done; this is the way it gets done,” Bullard said.
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.