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Vermonters rally to Occupy Wall Street
Vermonters rally to Occupy Wall Street
Jeb Wallace-Brodeur / Staff Photo
Killian Lomasney-Bourque, 7, of St. Johnsbury, holds a sign with several hundred other demonstrators outside the Statehouse during an Occupy Wall Street march in Montpelier on Saturday.
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By Lucia Suarez, Jenna Pizzi
and Christian avard
STAFF WRITERS – Published: October 16, 2011
Hundreds of people rallied against corporate greed, unequal taxation, poverty and rising unemployment on Saturday as the Occupy Wall Street movement spread across the streets of Rutland, Brattleboro, Montpelier and Burlington. The protests coincided with what organizers called the global day of action supporting the movement.
We live here. Its a great place to start, said Tim Abraham in Rutland. People here are protesting several injustices. They want equity in government.
In the state capital, hundreds of people of all ages rallied in front of Montpelier City Hall before marching to the Statehouse. They walked down the center of Main Street and turned onto State Street, both of which were closed to traffic by the Montpelier Police Department. As they marched, the crowd chanted We are the 99 percent.
Once at the Statehouse they held a general assembly in which they discussed why they were there and what the next step for the group should be.
That is the million dollar question, said Suzanne Sakai, of Randolph, who came to speak out against the banks that received a bailout from the federal government, but then didnt change the way they do business.
They kept partying like it was 1999, said Sakai, whose handmade sign read, We gave our money for the bailouts. Did we ever get our change?
Glen Hutcheson is no stranger to marches. He comes to the Statehouse every Friday for a peace rally, he said, but he is excited to see a broader message and a bigger crowd come out and voice their concerns, whatever they may be.
We are allowed as citizens to occupy public spaces, said Hutcheson, a local artist who painted a six-foot sign simply reading occupy.
Auburn Watersong attended the rally with her two teenage children to voice her concerns that there is an unequal distribution of resources in the country.
The rich need to be thinking more about sharing, said Watersong, a Montpelier resident who works as an economic justice specialist.
Watersongs 10-year-old daughter Emma Harter said that while her mothers feelings have an impact on her reaction, when she saw reports on the news about the Occupy Wall Street movement she was inspired and began to ask her own questions.
Harters sign reads With power comes responsibility.
People are being greedy, she said.
The heavy rain did not deter the protesters, who moved under an overhang at the Statehouse.
The Occupy Wall Street movement began in New York last month and has since spread to hundreds of cities around the world.
A small group gathered at the corner of Center Street and Merchants Row in downtown Rutland quickly grew to more than 50 people carrying signs and flags. Protesters carried signs reading We are the 99 percent, raise taxes for the rich, stop killing the worker, and I cant afford a lobbyist.
I am here to support the Wall Street people in New York, said protester Sue LaPorte of Pawlet. I think its time to save the middle class, to not have the middle class have the burden of taxation and that everyone should have a fair share.
Danny Boudreau said the 99 percent need to stand as one and make the country work together.
People believe this, said Boudreau, chief of a local nurses union. I believe in putting the people first.
Sara Lee Guthrie, granddaughter of Woody Guthrie and daughter of Arlo Guthrie, and her husband Johnny Irion performed at the Rutland rally before heading to the Burlington rally.
In Brattleboro, hundreds of people of all walks of life, including state Reps. John Moran of Wardsboro and Ann Manwaring of Wilmington, and Daryl Pillsbury, former state representative from Brattleboro, gathered at the Wells Fountain across the street from the Brattleboro town offices to show their support for the movement.
From my point of view, its jobs. We need jobs in the U.S. And we need to make corporate CEOs accountable for what theyre doing, said Ron Pickering, former head of the Vermont AFL-CIO. Banks are the same way. Theyre lending bucks, theyre doing Ponzi schemes, theyre ripping off retirement funds. People are fed up.
Loren Landis, a psychiatrist from Brattleboro, said the protests are about fairness and communication and that enough is enough.
People have to work together in order to get jobs and not demonize the other side and think this is grassroots phenomenon thats going to take off because people are pretty upset.
Sen. Bernard Sanders said the protests in Vermont, and across the country, are focusing attention to some of the most serious issues that he said were greed, recklessness and illegal behavior on Wall Street. He said the growing economic inequality is touching a nerve in people.
I applaud them for focusing attention on that, Sanders said. People understand that there is something fundamentally wrong in Wall Street.
The Vermont senator added the protesters are trying to raise consciousness among Americans who, he said, do not know exactly what is happening in government.
We need to have serious conversations, Sanders said.
Steve West, radio host on WKVT 1490 who attended the protest in New York last week, said people are getting the message that protests are not made up of rag-tag hippies or the classic stereotypes people have, but that they involve everyone.
Its not the fringe, its a lot of old and young people and everyone in between, he said at the Brattleboro rally. Its not a political event. Politics are embedded in it, but in the larger umbrella this is a movement for social change that everyone can relate to.
Article source: http://www.timesargus.com/article/20...50/1003/NEWS02
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