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“Occupy Wall Street” Gets Boost From Rally, March

October 6, 2011

NEW YORK - Community groups and labor unions have come from all over the state to rally and march in support of the protest that began three weeks ago with several hundred demonstrators occupying a small park near Wall Street.

Their numbers have grown and the movement has spread to other cities. Today, the call was for New York - hit hard by cuts to schools and human services - to make its wealthiest citizens pay their fair share.

Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause New York, was one of thousands marching to boost the Occupy Wall Street campaign.

"I hand it to the kids and the organizers of Occupy Wall Street to help galvanize the frustration that ordinary Americans have been feeling over the last year."

The protesters call themselves "the 99 percent" - meaning they're the portion of the nation pushing back against the top 1 percent which controls 40 percent of America's wealth.

Another demonstrators was Amelia Rice, a junior at the State University of New York at Purchase.

"I want to go into education. I want to go into arts education, and that's being cut. A lot of things in schools are being cut. Public schools are atrocious right now, and there needs to me more of a focus on that as opposed to corporate greed."

Lerner says the Occupy Wall Street movement has attracted wider support from labor and community groups and has become a phenomenon.

"It's obvious to us at Common Cause, the way it's obvious to most Americans, that Wall Street has gamed the system, flooded it with political money. They bought Washington, they left us holding the tab. And it's time to change that."

She calls the protests "the occasion everybody's been waiting for." Demonstrators chanted "This is what democracy looks like."

Mark Scheerer, Public News Service - NY