Reporting Rich Lamb
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Following Tuesday’s “Millionaire’s March” targeting the homes of several billionaires on the Upper East Side, the Occupy Wall Street protesters intended to continue taking their show on the road Wednesday — including a planned protest of Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase.
The group says they intend to “visit” Dimon at “one of his several New York City skyscrapers.” One problem: A spokesperson for Dimon told CBSNewYork.com on Tuesday that he is currently overseas in Asia.
The group said it was protesting because it was upset about the expiration of New York state’s “millionaire’s tax” in December.
Photos: Wall Street Protests Continue
Tuesday, they marched past the homes of some of New York City’s wealthiest residents. They walked two by two up the sidewalk. An organizer said they didn’t have a permit and wanted to avoid blocking pedestrian traffic.
They expressed concerns about how much less the wealthy will pay when New York’s 2 percent “millionaires’ tax” expires in December.
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Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who made his money in the financial sector, says he can understand the frustration expressed by the protesters and vowed to protect their 1st Amendment rights.
He couldn’t resist taking a jab at them, however.
“I don’t appreciate the bashing of all of the hard working people who live here and pay the taxes that support our city. The reality is our city depends on the jobs that the financial services industry provide. That’s one of the industries that people have complained about,” said Bloomberg. “Let’s not forget those taxes are paying out teachers, our police officers, our firefighters.”
The mayor added that the majority of the people that work in the financial services sector make about $72,000 a year.
Meanwhile, police commissioner Ray Kelly was asked if the protests could go on indefinitely.
“Obviously, as long as they don’t break the law and they have a desire and a will to demonstrate in the public areas, they’re the ones that are going to make the determination as to how long it goes on,” answered Kelly.
Many of the protesters have been camped out for weeks in Zuccotti Park near Wall Street. They’re credited with starting a movement that has slowly spread nationwide.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is no longer saying that Occupy Wall Street protesters amount to “mobs,” but he says they’re divisive in ways that Tea Party supporters are not.
In comments to reporters Tuesday, the Virginia Republican refused to repeat or renounce his comment over the weekend that the protests in New York and Washington are being carried out by “mobs.” But, he said, these protests are “very different” than the tea party protests last year, in that they are pitting Americans against other Americans. Tea Party operatives, Cantor said, directed their ire at the government.
Democrats noted that Cantor didn’t object to the tea party’s in-your-face confrontations with lawmakers last year.
The Wall Street protesters say they represent all Americans except the wealthiest 1 percent.
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