By Peter Fedynsky
Occupy Wall Street activists took their protest against social inequality and corporate greed to New York’s Financial District Thursday, as police kept demonstrators from Wall Street itself. Minor skirmishes reported between protesters and police.
Police used barricades to shunt demonstrators around Wall Street, and to disperse what began as a march of several hundred people into a number of smaller groups. Protesters carried signs denouncing what they believe to be a wealthy one percent of Americans that have corrupted the country’s political and economic system with money.
Some minor skirmishes erupted between police and protesters who failed to move where they were told.
Trading at the New York Stock Exchange was not disrupted, as stockbrokers and other financial workers with proper IDs were allowed through barricades into the heart of the Financial District. Many of those workers say Occupy activists make some valid points, but that the movement is wrong to blame capitalism for the country’s political and economic problems. Bob Costello, an IT consultant with The Federal Reserve Bank, criticizes Occupy activists for lack of focus.
“They want to express the anger, but there’s no way to satisfy that anger,” said Costello. “Personally, I think they ought to be in Washington in front of Congress going, ‘maybe we should get our Congressman to get the companies out of their pockets.’ Because that’s what this is about, right?”
Occupy activist and barber shop owner Severin Dickson says the movement got its message out even if Thursday’s march failed to literally occupy Wall Street.
“I think this is just the very beginning,” said Dickson. “It’s not a fad, it’s not a phase. It’s a structural problem.”
As Dickson sees it, the structural problem involves moneyed and corporate interests that are buying political influence at the expense of ordinary people who need jobs, health insurance and education.
Thursday’s march was held to mark two months since the beginning of the Occupy movement, which has now spread to scores of American cities and around the world.