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Wall Street Protests Stretch On, Reasons Vary

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Wall Street Protests Stretch On, Reasons Vary


Wall Street Protests Stretch On, Reasons Vary

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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MELISSA BLOCK, host: This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

GUY RAZ, host: And I'm Guy Raz, taking a break from the weekend show for a few weeks to join you here on the weekdays.

And now to a park near Wall Street, where protesters are showing no signs of leaving.

BLOCK: What they're calling an occupation is entering its third week in New York, and it's spreading to other cities. In a moment, we'll ask two protesters, in Chicago and Boston, to explain what's motivating them. First, as NPR's Joel Rose reports from New York, the protesters' demands remain unclear.

JOEL ROSE: Day 15 of Occupy Wall Street brought out the zombies.

TREVOR RALLSTON: I need more money. Never enough money. Must consume everything.

ROSE: Trevor Rallston and other demonstrators dressed up in black, white and red zombie makeup. Trevor's costume included a fake $1,000 bill attached somehow to the corner of his mouth. Rallston explains the point this way.

RALLSTON: Out here today to juxtapose zombie eating money between corporate bankers that consume everything. Never enough. Must have it all. Tax the poor. Tax cuts for the rich.

ROSE: The zombie agenda is just one of many issues and philosophies animating these protesters, who've eaten and slept in Lower Manhattan's Zuccotti Park for more than two weeks now. If you ask them what, exactly, they're protesting against, you get a lot of different answers. But some themes do emerge.

JOANNE FIORITO: Oh yeah, corporations are screwing everybody - excuse the language. You can bleep that out.

ROSE: Joanne Fiorito drove down from Pennsylvania to support the protesters.

FIORITO: I think they want to stop corporate greed. I mean, the money is not trickling down to we the people. If it was, there wouldn't be these people here.

BENNETT WEISS: People always ask, oh, the people there don't have a goal, they don't have demands. Want to know why we're here? I'll show you.

ROSE: Bennett Weiss of Newburgh, New York, brought his button-making machine to the park. He's turning out free buttons that say Economic Justice: Support the Wall Street Occupation.

WEISS: Economic justice, you see? That's why we're all here, economic justice now. That's the umbrella reason.

ROSE: If that seems like a pretty big umbrella, it is, says protester Caitlyn Leigh.

CAITLYN LEIGH: It's a very diverse group of people who want very diverse groups of things. And so to be able to pinpoint one,specific thing that everyone wants is extremely difficult and, you know, will take a very long time.

ROSE: But the protesters have the media's attention right now. Over the weekend, 700 of them were arrested for blocking the roadway of the Brooklyn Bridge. Protesters say they were entrapped by the cops, though police released a video that appears to show them warning the crowd to disperse.


ROSE: Similar occupation protests are popping up around the country, in cities like Chicago and Boston. In downtown Los Angeles, a few dozen protesters are gathered outside City Hall. Sarah McGovern says she plans to stay there until December.

SARAH MCGOVERN: There's not liberty for us. There's no education, no health care. We don't have equality. Equal rights are kind of a joke at this point. If you're rich, you're rich. And if you're not, good luck.

ROSE: The protesters say they're staying put until the message, whatever it is, gets through. Joel Rose, NPR News.

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