New York Protests Spreading to Downtown with Saturday Start to 'Occupy Los Angeles'
Protestors with OccupyLA hold up signs to cars passing on the 101 freeway on September 24.
DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES — Local supporters of “radical democracy” will begin a demonstration called Occupy Los Angeles on Saturday morning, marching from Pershing Square to City Hall in Downtown L.A. The demonstration will be in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street protests that have been occurring in New York City's financial district since Sept. 17.
The protesters' demands are for democracy, rather than what they see as "corporatocracy," or an overly-greedy government response to the weakened economy and the highest poverty rates the country has seen in 30 years.
Saturday: Live updates are in today's story about the march and rally.
The slogan the group has adopted states, "We are the 99 percent." The sentiment comes as a response to the statistic that the top one percent of America's wealthy currently controls about 40 percent of the country's wealth as class divides continue to widen.
The organization states on their Tumblr.com page, “They are the one percent. They are the banks, the mortgage industry, the insurance industry. They are the important ones. They need help and get bailed out and are praised as job creators. We need help and get nothing and are called entitled. We live in a society made for them, not for us. It’s their world, not ours.”
The movement, which started in New York, has spread quickly to cities nationwide as well as to international cities like London, Frankfurt and Melbourne.
Those behind the group emphasize on their website and their social media sites (Facebook, Twitter) that they are a leaderless movement, an aspect which has generated some criticism, as the movement still lacks a long-term strategy or any official demands.
Like recent movements that have taken place in Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries, the Occupy movement has been almost exclusively organized over social media. Occupy Los Angeles, which has had a Facebook presence for little more than a week, currently has over 6,000 followers. The Occupy Wall Street Facebook page has a following of over 41,000. The group has also developed a Tumblr.com site entitled “We are the 99 percent,” which allows supporters from across the country to contribute their personal stories of lost jobs, debt and low wages.
The Occupy LA organizers have been holding general assembly meetings Downtown since Sept. 25. The Occupy LA website suggests participants bring sleeping bags, water and food with them to Saturday’s demonstration in preparation for a long occupation of Downtown. Over 2,500 people have said they will be attending the protest on Occupy LA’s Facebook event page. An estimated 1,000 attended the first day of the Occupy Wall Street protests.