‘Occupy Wall Street’ Protesters Annoyed At Protest ‘Freeloaders’
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – As the “Occupy Wall Street” protests enter their fourth week, donations of food and clothes have been appreciated not only by actual protesters, but also by an unwelcome crowd of freeloaders.
“Basically the tourists take all the food and the hipsters take all the clothes,” one Brooklyn artist told 1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon.
“It’s a shame, but there are a few people out there doing that,” another protester said.
LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon reports
“Some people haven’t quite understood the message of why we’re here and some have been acting as opportunists, but I mean they’re not acting on the opportunity, in my opinion, any more than the people who are coming down here, registering people to vote for the Democratic and Republican Parties, or the people who are coming down here to sell their t-shirts and pins,” another protester said.
Over the weeks, the protests morphed into an umbrella movement for people of varying ages, life situations and grievances.
“I am 116,000 in debt for being a social worker,” 2010 Columbia University grad Jess Horner said. “I don’t have a job. I have no healthcare. You can only get insurance through employment. So many people are unemployed.”
LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell on the protest
Rich Sward, a 64-year-old retired teacher from Syracuse said he came out to the protest “because of the basic inequity of our social and economic system in this country.”
Photos: Wall Street Protests Continue
Sunday afternoon, Riverside Church Interim Senior Minister Stephen Phelps and other clergy from the church are expected to join the protesters at Zuccotti Park, CBS 2’s Mark Morgan reports.
Demonstrators say they wanted to show that their movement has structure and is organized.
“That’s part of the problem, that people are not coming or judging this whole movement because there’s ‘no cohesion,'” said protestor Paul John. “That’s because three people said ‘there’s no cohesion’ but when you can show up and walk through the streets and say this is what we’re standing for right now, that’s a purpose.”
When they arrived at Washington Square Park, they were met by at least one man with an opposing view.
“I wanted to come out and give a different point of view and express how much I love capitalism and the system that we live in here in America and the opportunities that we have through the system of capitalism,” said anti-Occupy Wall Street protestor Jonathan Valdez.
Washington Square Park has a curfew and protesters honored that curfew and walked back to Zuccotti Park. Saturday night’s march was orderly, with no violence and no arrests reported.
Meanwhile, protests are continuing to grow nationwide.
An off-shoot of the group Occupy DC closed down Washington’s National Air and Space Museum after demonstrators tried to enter the building with signs.
Smithsonian spokesman John Gibbons says a group of demonstrators, estimated between 100 and 200 people, arrived at about 3 p.m. Saturday and tried to enter the free museum.
Gibbons says when a security guard tried to stop them, saying they could not enter with the signs, he was apparently held by demonstrators. A second guard used pepper spray on at least one person and the crowd dispersed. One woman was arrested.
Protesters outside Philadelphia’s City Hall went on the move Saturday, marching to the Liberty Bell.
Some of the demonstrators have been staying in a makeshift tent city since Thursday.
In the Midwest, more than 1,000 people marched on the Indiana statehouse for the Occupy Indianapolis protest.
The demonstration was mainly organized through posts on Facebook and other web sites.
In the south, turn-out was not as strong in Alabama for Saturday’s Occupy Mobile demonstration. Only a few dozen people showed up to hold signs at a government plaza.
In Florida, hundreds marched through downtown Jacksonville Saturday. Some demonstrators held up signs critical of House majority leader Eric Cantor who said the protesters were a mob.
On the west coast, members of the Occupy San Diego protest are vowing to camp out at City Hall. The sit-in began there Friday afternoon. They say they’ll stay indefinitely.
In the Pacific northwest, police are investigating a possible sex assault where the demonstrators have set up camp for the Occupy Portland protest.
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