Thousands of protesters marched in New York and Washington on Saturday as part of a global day of “outrage” against corporate greed that has seen rowdy demonstrations in dozens of countries.
In New York, the protesters headed to Chase Bank in support of around 14,000 workers sacked by the lender in the wake of cutbacks made after a government bailout totaling $94.7 billion.
Students, families with strollers and trade unionists, minded by a large police presence, then walked towards Wall Street carrying placards, stating: “We are the 99 percent,” “We are the people” and “Mr Obama we need you support.”
The Occupy Wall Street movement, buoyed by a decision Friday to halt plans to kick them out of the New York park they have called home for a month, intended to stage two other demonstrations in the Big Apple.
One would mark the 10th anniversary of the US-led invasion of Afghanistan and another gathering was to be held at Times Square at 5:00 pm (1700 GMT).
In the US capital, between 2,000-3,000 protesters assembled at the National Mall on the eve of the inauguration of a memorial to slain Nobel peace laureate Martin Luther King, Jr.
His son, Martin Luther King III, told the crowd: ” We have bailed out the auto industry, and we should have. We bailed out Wall Street. Now it’s time to bail out working Americans. That’s what this is about.
“I believe that if my father was alive, he would be right here with all of us involved in this demonstration today.”
The Reverend Al Sharpton also spoke at the event.
“Occupy Wall Street, occupy Washington, occupy Alabama! We’ve come to take our country back to the people,” he said.
Around 200 demonstrators in Washington had earlier marched to a branch of Bank of America where they had also planned to close accounts. However, they were not allowed inside and the bank was hastily closed.
Hollywood actor Sean Penn became the latest celebrity to offer his backing to Occupy Wall Street, a group of demonstrators who on September 17 took up residence in New York’s Zuccotti Park and began their ongoing campaign that has since seen related protests sweep the globe.
“I applaud the spirit of what is happening now on Wall Street,” Penn told interviewer Piers Morgan on CNN late Friday.
“This generation — and this does begin, I think significantly with the Arab Spring — is starting to tell the world that we cannot be controlled by fear any more and we will not be denied.”