‘Occupy Wall Street’ Protests Coming To New Jersey
JERSEY CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The “Occupy Wall Street” movement is coming across the Hudson River.
Demonstrators are planning to gather Thursday afternoon in front of the Goldman Sachs offices in Jersey City, in the heart of the city’s financial district.
The area earned the nickname ‘Wall Street West’ after many global financial firms relocated to Jersey City in the wake of 9/11. The section of the city’s downtown has many high rises, and is directly across the Hudson River from lower Manhattan.
The Occupy Wall Street demonstrations began Sept. 17 with a handful of protesters outside the New York Stock Exchange and have since spread to cities across the country. In addition to the Jersey City event at 2 p.m. Thursday, protesters plan to gather at the same time in front of the Statehouse in Trenton.
Like many participating in the protests, 22-year-old Eric Sundman of Chatham said he was motivated to join the growing movement after watching 700 protesters get arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge during the weekend. Sundman had been using social media to help organize the New Jersey protests, which he said are aimed at lawmakers and big corporations that Sundman says have helped cause the financial crisis, but have done little to stop it.
“I want the people of Goldman Sachs to realize that’s our tax dollars we gave you during the crisis to bail you out,” Sundman said. “But we’re not seeing any of the thanks. We’re not getting jobs, or help paying down our debts, like student loans or car payments.”
A spokeswoman for Goldman Sachs declined to comment on the planned protest.
Jersey City Police Lt. Edgar Martinez said the city is prepared for the protests and is planning accordingly. He said as of Tuesday no one had applied for a permit to march, but the protesters would be allowed to gather as long as they didn’t impede pedestrians or traffic.
“We don’t anticipate any problems,” Martinez said, “because we anticipate everything being orderly, and individuals adhering to the law while they’re exercising their fundamental right to freedom of speech.”
Participants range from college students worried about job prospects to middle-age workers who have been recently laid off. The protests have been loosely organized around the concept, as Sundman says, that “money shouldn’t influence politics, people should influence politics.”
“I’m glad that everyone is getting active, and the fact that this is not partisan,” said Sundman, who graduated recently with a culinary arts degree and has been unable to find steady work. “It’s not left, it’s not right; we’re all in this together. That’s what democracy is, and that’s what we’re trying to spread.”
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