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Entries in Protesters (10)

Tuesday
May012012

Former ’60s Activist Bill Ayers Among May Day Protesters

May Day Protest in NYC. EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/GettyImages(CHICAGO) -- Occupy protesters have amped up May Day labor demonstrations across the country with a wide range of partnering organizations and individuals. Former 60s anti-war activist William “Bill” Ayers is among those protesting in Chicago on Tuesday.

He said he planned to participate in the May Day demonstration at Union Park in Chicago and the subsequent march.

“We’ll march right past the scene of the Haymarket massacre,” Ayers said of the protest in favor of an eight-hour work day in 1886 that was bombed. “There used to be a big statute in tribute to police power but it was taken down. Now there’s a wonderful piece of public art celebrating the movement for labor rights and the anarchists’ movement.”

Ayers is a retired professor of education reform at the University of Illinois at Chicago and author of multiple books, including Fugitive Days: Memoirs of an Anti-War Activist (2009) and To Teach: The Journey, in Comics (2010).

He and his wife, Bernadine Dohrn, former leaders of the radical anti-war group the Weather Underground, paid a visit to Occupy Wall Street protesters in Union Square Park in New York on March 30.

In a call with ABC News, Ayers declined to comment about that meeting.

Ayers said he has participated in May Day labor demonstrations “for about 50 years.”

“May Day is an international workers holiday all over the world. Only in U.S. do we not celebrate that history.”

Dohrn is a clinical associate professor of law at Northwestern University School of Law and founder of its Children and Family Justice Center.

Ayers did not mention the May Day protests on his blog, instead drawing attention to a petition on April 29 opposing educational “privatization while undermining public education.”

Ayers was a flashpoint for a brief controversy during the 2008 presidential campaign. Opponents of Barack Obama criticized the then candidate for having ties to the former radical. Ayers later disputed the claim, writing an op-ed in the New York Times.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Dec122011

'Occupy a Desk' Job Fair Comes to Zuccotti Park

Derek Tabacco (L) and John Tabacco (R) counter demonstrate against the "Occupy Wall Street" march near the New York Stock Exchange on Nov. 17, 2011. STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- John Tabacco became so frustrated with disruption from the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protest near his office in Manhattan that he and his brother are hosting a job fair called "Occupy a Desk" in Zuccotti Park as a counter protest to the movement.

Tabacco, chief executive of Locatestock.com, first started a campaign called "Free Wall Street Now" to coincide with Occupy Wall Street's "Day of Disruption" on Nov. 17.  On that day, Occupy protesters planned to interrupt workers' commute to the New York Stock Exchange in response to being kicked out of New York's Zuccotti Park.

Tabacco, 43, his brother, Derek, 41, and about 20 supporters counter-protested during the "Day of Disruption," holding signs near the stock exchange, such as "Occupy a Desk."

Tabacco said he and his brother had heated exchanges with the Occupy protesters.

"Their main response was, 'I can't occupy a desk, because I can't get a job; where can I get a job?'  That's what everyone was saying in response to our signs," Tabacco said, which inspired him and his brother to organize a jobs fair.

The campaign received a "huge outpouring" of support from people across the country, Tabacco said.  The business owner said when he started to gauge interest in a jobs fair two weeks ago, he had a list of about 15 jobs.  As of the weekend, they had a list of about 400 job openings in the tri-state area.

While OWS protesters are welcome to come and bring a resume, admission is free and open to everyone, Tabacco said.

"We're hoping to end the occupation by left wing vagabonds with a fragmented message and bring professional people who are trying to engage in a positive endeavor," he said.

The jobs fair is scheduled to last from noon to 4 p.m. on Monday in Zuccotti Park, where the Occupy Wall Street protest began on Sept. 17.  The New York Police Department said Tabacco does not need a permit to host the fair in the park if the organizational group is under 20 people and there is no amplified sound.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec072011

Occupiers Protesting Foreclosures, Cold Temps, with New Campaign

iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(MINNEAPOLIS) -- A subset of Occupy Wall Street protesters across the country are bringing their fight indoors with plans to stay in foreclosed homes for months -- conveniently just in time for winter.

The group launched a national campaign on Tuesday called Occupy Our Homes -- in which they'll literally be living in the homes of foreclosed homeowners.

It's a move apparently motivated as much by Mother Nature than it was by any philisophical motivations about the economy. 

Nick Espinosa, one of the organizers of Occupy Minneapolis, which officially launched on Oct. 7, said Minnesota's cold makes it difficult for people to spend the winter outdoors.

"It makes sense to be indoors but really this is a larger issue," he said. "It's an opportunity for a way to bring what is happening on Wall Street back to Main Street and to communities most affected by this crisis."

Foreclosures are still plaguing communities across the country, as foreclosure activity recently hit a seven-month high, RealtryTrac reported last month. There were foreclosure filings on 230,678 properties across the country in October, the real estate site said, an increase of 7 percent from the previous month, though down 31 percent from a year ago.

This week, the first major lawsuit over "robo-signing" foreclosure processing was filed in Massachusetts against Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Citi, Ally Financial and Wells Fargo, as well as the Mortgage Electronic Registration System, Inc. (MERS Corp.). The suit alleges the companies used fraudulent documentation in processing foreclosures.

Steve Fletcher, executive director of the nonprofit group Minnesota's Neighborhoods Organizing for Change, has joined with Occupy Minneapolis protesters to live on the properties of two foreclosed homeowners.

About 50 people began occupying the home of Bobby Hull, 57, this week.  Fletcher said he and other protesters plan to stay in the four-bedroom home of Hull, who is scheduled to be evicted from his home on Feb. 17.

Neighborhoods Organizing for Change along with Occupy Minneapolis protesters have also stayed at the home of Monique White in North Minneapolis, for one month.  Espinosa said the protesters in White's home have scaled back since the original 40 or 50 people a night.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Dec022011

Adam Carolla's Take on Occupy Movement: 'Self-Entitled Monsters'

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- What’s the Occupy Wall Street movement really about?  Is it rooted in anger over the sagging economy and high unemployment?  Is it a protest against the growing disparity between rich and poor in America?

Comedian Adam Carolla -- and millions of other Americans, polls prove -- think of the group differently. Carolla says the group is really just a bunch of whining, "self-entitled monsters" of the “everybody gets a medal” millennial generation, which he refers to as ”the a** douches” in an explicit nine-and-a-half-minute recording that’s suddenly gone viral.

Though he never mentions the Occupy movement by name, Carolla takes note of anger against the “1 percent,” who, he says, “already are paying way more than their fair share” of taxes in California, where he produces a popular podcast.

[Click here to watch the video]

“There’s something that’s come up in this country that didn’t used to exist, which is envy, and it’s a big issue,” he says.  “We are now dealing with the first wave of participation-trophy, 'my-own-fecal-matter-doesn’t-stink,' 'empowered'...'everybody’s-a-winner, there-are-no-losers' -- we are dealing with the first wave of those [expletive] a**holes.  That’s who we’re dealing with now."

“They’re feeling shame,” he says.  “They’ve been shamed by life because they haven’t been prepared for life.”‘

Though the recording apparently is excerpted from a podcast Carolla put out in October, according to Slate, Carolla’s take has gotten traction in recent days on a number of mainstream websites.

According to Carolla -- whose own website prominently features his quote on the Occupy L.A. protesters: “Now you’re just hanging out and s***ting in a tent” -- anger at the rich and successful is the price of spoiling a generation with a sense of entitlement.

“You’re just looked at as peon number 27 who’s putting in an application and, guess what, I don’t like your attitude...Get your [expletive] feet off my desk and hit the bricks.  I’m not hiring you,” Carolla says on the recording.  “And now, your plan is to come back and throw a brick at my window.  That’s your plan. That is what’s going on.  It’s this envy and shame, and there’s going to be a lot more of it."

“It used to be, back in the day,” he goes on, “father’d be walking his son down the sidewalk and you’d see a guy go by in a Rolls Royce and the father would say, ‘There goes Mr. Jenkins.  Look up to him.  That guy works hard.  That guy built a company.  That guy built an empire.  Now look at him.  He’s got his Rolls Royce.’

“Now it’s like, ‘Oh! Look at him.  Does he need that car?  Why does he need that car?  I’m driving a [expletive] Chevette.  Why does he get to drive that [expletive] car?  Let’s go and throw a [expletive] rock at it.’  That’s not going to help you get out of the Chevette, a** douche.  Get the [expletive] to work,” Carolla says.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Nov222011

Occupy Protesters Interrupt Obama Jobs Speech

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(MANCHESTER, N.H.) -- The Occupy movement followed President Obama to New Hampshire on Tuesday, where protesters interrupted his jobs speech at a high school in Manchester.

Speaking at Manchester High School Central, the president was interrupted shortly after he started delivering an address calling for Congress to act on the payroll tax cut extension.

The protesters were quickly countered by students, chanting “Obama, Obama!” and several minutes of arguing back and forth ensued.

After listening briefly, the president asked the group to quiet down. “I’m going to be talking about a whole range of things today and I appreciate you guys making your point. Let me go ahead and make mine...I’ll listen to you and you listen to me,” Obama said.

The president, who has said the Occupy Wall Street movement voices the public’s widespread frustration with the country’s financial system, later mentioned the protests in his speech.

“A lot of the folks who’ve been down in New York and all across the country in the Occupy movement, there is a profound sense of frustration, a profound sense of frustration about the fact that the essence of the American Dream...feels like it’s slipping away,” he said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Oct272011

‘Occupy’ Protests Cost Cities Millions

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- With tensions mounting daily, the name Scott Olsen has become a national rallying cry for the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Olsen, a 24-year-old Iraq veteran, is in serious condition after suffering a fractured skull during clashes with police in Oakland.

He joined the protests after work Tuesday night and suffered his head wound when police fired tear gas into the crowd during the crackdown. People who came to his aid were then scattered by a gas canister tossed by police.

In an effort to show solidarity with Olsen and their counterparts in Oakland, protesters in New York City marched to City Hall on Wednesday night. The demonstration led to a tense confrontation with police and 10 arrests.

On Thursday, the police union said officers had showed restraint but the union would sue any protester who injured an officer.

So are the confrontations entering a dangerous new stage?

Many city officials are under pressure from constituents tired of unsightly tent cities, dead grass and dangerous conditions. The cost to already struggling municipalities, which must protect and clean up after the protesters, is soaring.

“We know for a fact we’ve crossed the $300,000 threshold in terms of money spent so far for this operation,” said Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.

In San Francisco, the bill is more than $100,000.

“It’s just something that has to happen, it’s a worldwide movement,” said protester Dustin Sneed, who has been at the San Francisco protest since the beginning.

Across the country, the figures are growing. In New York City, overtime costs are $3.4 million. In Minneapolis, the sheriff’s department reports spending $200,000. And in Boston, the tally is $2 million and counting.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 

Tuesday
Oct252011

Occupy Wall Street Struggles with Redistributing Its Own Wealth

EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- As the Occupy Wall Street movement expands, protest organizers -- many of whom support wealth redistribution -- are struggling with distributing the $500,000 in donations they have received. As the saying goes, money changes everything, and apparently it's causing infighting in the group.

Pete Dutro, a member of the Occupy Wall Street finance committee, dismissed reports that squabbling was growing as to who gets to collect.

"Finances are always a flash point for a lot of organizations," Dutro, 36, said.

The New York Post reported groups of protesters were upset for having to fill out paperwork to access funds, such as money to reimburse drums that had been vandalized one late night.

"There are people who don't want to follow the process and there's not a whole lot I can do for them," Dutro said.  "How is that going to be accountable?"

About 8,000 individual donors have given on average about $50 each, Dutro said.  Earlier this month, the Occupy Wall Street account was temporarily frozen due to a human error, losing $144,000 in online donations.

Occupy Wall Street had raised about $500,000 and as of Monday have $416,000 according to the bank balance sheet, Dutro said.  He said the majority of expenses are food, and next are clothing, medical expenses and credit card fees from processing the online donations.

The protests, which originally began on Sept. 17, have spread across the country, with people camped out in San Francisco and Chicago, among other cities.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Oct112011

Occupy Wall Street's 'Millionaires March' Through NYC

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Elizabeth Owens carried an oversized check as she participated in Tuesday’s Occupy Wall Street "Millionaires March" that took protesters through New York City's Upper East Side and past the homes of some of the city's richest residents.

"I want the millionaires to know that we won't stand for this. I pay more than they do in taxes," said Owens, a New York resident.

According to an Occupy Wall Street spokesman, about 2,000 protesters took part in the march, which started around 1 p.m. and made its way up Park Avenue toward the apartment buildings of billionaire David Koch, real estate developer Howard Milstein, hedge fund manager John Paulson and JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon.

Protesters called for an extension of the state's so-called "millionaires tax," the highest income-tax rate on taxpayers with incomes of more than $500,000. The tax is due to expire in December.

"[The] tour will visit homes of some of the most well-known millionaires in New York City specially chosen for their willingness to hoard wealth at the expense of the 99 percent," organizers told CapitalNewYork.com.

Richard Bey of New York said Wall Street needs regulation and oversight.

"Half of the country is making less than $49,000 a year. Should you be taxed the same as a millionaire?" Bey said.

Upper West Side resident Joanna Cole, who said she was wealthy, carried a sign that read "Tax Me."

"I think I should pay more taxes," she told ABC News on Tuesday. "We are at a point in this country where we are seeing the greatest inequality in wealth in 125 years."

Meredith Balk, a retired Delta Air Lines worker, said that the working class used to have a secure lifestyle.

"Unfortunately, we bought into the perception and goals of the rich," she said. "This march is an excellent idea that will gain a lot of attention. We're going straight to the people who make these decisions."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Oct112011

Occupy Wall Street's Underbelly: Hacking, Threats of Violence, Filth

Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- What's not to like about Occupy Wall Street? Plenty, say the movement's critics. They accuse Occupiers of everything from poor hygiene to making threats of physical violence against corporate executives. They warn that the movement may be trying to foment a bank run and cyber-hack the New York Stock Exchange or some other bulwark of the establishment.

An article in the New York Post takes Occupiers to task for drug use, strewing litter and copulating in the out of doors. "Zucatti Park," says the paper, smells "like an open sewer -- with people urinating and defecating in public." Indeed, one protestor was recently snapped by a photographer as the protester deficated on a police car.

ABC News reports that a faction of the computer hacker group Anonymous has threatened, in a gesture of sympathy with Occupy, to launch a cyber attack against the NYSE. In a YouTube video posted last weekend, a computer-generated voice warns, "Many people refuse to accept that Operation Invade Wall Street is a reality."

It goes on to say that while one faction of Anonymous is opposed to such an attack, another favors it. "Those who are going to be part of the attack," says the voice, "have a message to the NYSE: We don't like you. We do not forgive. We do not forget. NYSE, expect those of us who plan to destroy you." Anonymous has previously claimed credit for hacks against Sony and Bank of America.

On Monday afternoon -- the time of the threatened hack -- the NYSE website twice slowed so significantly that it became all but unusable by visitors, according to monitoring group Keynote Systems in San Mateo, Calif.

Vincent Schiavone, founder and chairman of ListenLogic, a company that gives corporate clients advance warning of cyber attacks and of other threats circulating on the Internet, calls Occupy-related threats "alarming." His company monitors a wide variety of online sources -- including Facebook and Twitter postings and even posted church sermons -- to see what topics, issues and grievances are increasing in volume, meaning in intensity and in number on the Internet.

An online "Occupy Threat Center" created by ListenLogic says the company's analysis of "over one million social media posts" indicates significant increases in all of the following:

-Social media activity from Occupy supporters and activists promoting physical destruction and violent action.

-Direct and specific threats from Occupy "hacktivist" groups against specific financial and law enforcement targets.

-Social media posts, videos and images targeting: financial institutions that issue mortgages and student loans and that initiate foreclosures; corporate entities that received bailout money or government subsidies; companies that pay high executive salaries or bonuses; and companies perceived to be paying extremely low taxes.

ListenLogic is detecting, he says, a change in the tone of discourse about the so-called 1 percent richest Americans.

There still are postings that talk about taxing the 1 percent more severely or even throwing them in jail. "But then," says Schiavone, "there's an increase in 'let's kill' them. We see 'eat the rich,' 'kill the wealthy.' There are images circulating of senior executives being decapitated, images of blood. Artists are releasing images of banks on fire."

Such extremism, he hastens to point out, is not representative of the objectives of most Occupiers. "Is that the movement? Absolutely not. They have been trying to be peaceful and respectful." But the movement harbors within it, he says, persons "a lot more radical."

Asked by ABCNews.com if his company is advising any of the companies that have been the focus of the protests, Schiavone said company policy prohibited him from making any comments about their clients. He did say that Listenlogic's clients included Fortune 500 companies covering finance, consumer package goods, healthcare, food and others.

ListenLogic, he says, only monitors: it makes no effort to distinguish between threats that are real and those that are false or merely bluster.

For example, ListenLogic is warning of a possible run on banks by flash-mob groups trying, en masse, to withdraw their savings from Bank America and other targeted banks. Schiavone says he is seeing an increase in web references to "run on the bank" and "bank transfer" -- independent of any mention of Occupy.

One such posting, which so far has drawn 100,000 viewers, can be found on YouTube. It purports to show depositors in St. Louis being restrained by a police SWAT team from entering a Bank of America branch.

One small problem: The YouTube account isn't true.

There's no question that a protest of some kind took place outside a Bank of America branch in St. Louis. But it took place before the existence of the Occupy movement, and no source confirms that it was an effort by depositors to withdraw their money. A spokesman for Bank of America categorically refutes that the incident was a bank run or that depositors were at any time prevented from withdrawing funds. In fact Shtfplan.com, one of the websites that first reported the incident as a "run," has since recanted its account, admitting that the incident was "not a reflection of Occupy protests."

Schiavone shrugs off the distinction between truth and fiction, making the point that anything seen by 100,000 people has the power to inspire imitation, and, in this instance, to be a threat to banks or other financial institutions.

"Not everything people say on the web is true," he allows. "But social media postings don't have to be true to hurt."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Oct062011

Herman Cain Tells Occupy Wall Street Protesters to 'Blame Yourself'

EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A pair of Republican presidential candidates had some harsh words for the protesters who've been hectoring Wall Street for the past three weeks: Cut out the "class warfare" and "blame yourself" for being poor and jobless.

Speaking to The Wall Street Journal, Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain said the demonstrators are coming across as "anti-capitalism." The former CEO of Godfather's Pizza said the Occupy Wall Street protesters are trying to distract the country from President Obama's "failed policies."

"Don't blame Wall Street, don't blame the big banks, if you don't have a job and you're not rich, blame yourself!" Cain said. "It is not a person's fault because they succeeded, it is a person's fault if they failed. And so this is why I don't understand these demonstrations and what is it that they're looking for."

At a campaign stop in Florida Tuesday, Mitt Romney said the demonstrations were "dangerous" and "class warfare."

When ABC's Emily Friedman asked Romney Wednesday about the protests, the GOP frontrunner declined to elaborate on his previous comments, saying "I'm just trying to get myself to occupy the White House."

But while these Republicans are condemning the protests, some Democrats have sympathized with the thousands of people who have camped out in front of the New York Stock Exchange.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Tuesday that the administration "understands" why people are frustrated.

House Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson of Connecticut applauded the protesters for "standing up for what they believe in."

About 2,000 people were expected to descend upon lower Manhattan in New York City Wednesday as 15 of the country's largest labor unions joined the demonstrations in Zuccotti Square. Copycat protests have sprung up around the country from Washington, D.C., to Los Angeles to support a wide range of causes, the most prominent of which is ending corporate greed.

"In New York and across the country, thousands of Americans have taken to the streets, certain of the morality of their message: bringing fairness to Main Street," Larson said in a statement. "The silent masses aren't so silent anymore. They are fighting to give voice to the struggles that everyday Americans are going through."

The Consumer Financial Protection Board's former interim chief, Elizabeth Warren, who just launched her bid in Massachusetts for Sen. Scott Brown's U.S. Senate seat, said protesters should, first and foremost, follow the law, but she added that "people on Wall Street broke this country, and they did it one lousy mortgage at a time.

"The housing market remains a bane for Massachusetts and the country," Warren said. "We need to...take serious and hard steps to get this housing market to level out so we can start rebuilding our economy."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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