‘Occupy Indy’ protest continues at Statehouse
A small cadre of supporters of the national Occupy Wall Street movement gathered today on the south side of the Indiana Statehouse and held signs protesting what they described as corporate greed and the influence of money in politics.
They dubbed their local effort “Occupy Indianapolis.” In New York City, where the movement began last month, tens of thousands have joined protests.
“This is grass-roots,” said Andrew Wade, 43, Indianapolis. “People need to wake up.”
Noting that today is Columbus Day, Wade said Christopher Columbus came to North America “to rape and pillage.” That is similar, Wade argued, to the way he thinks corporations nowadays abuse natural resources and human labor.
Perhaps 15 protesters stood or sat on the Statehouse lawn about noon. The protests at the Statehouse started Saturday. Organizers said they expected larger numbers in the evening and that they planned to move to different locations on Tuesday.
A fellow protester said people need to lift their voices against the power of corporations.
“Big oil companies and big banks lobby for certain politicians to be put into office,” said Megan Kesler, 22, Indianapolis. “Then the politicians support the large corporations instead of the interests of the people. We need corporate entities out of politics.”
Another protester said he is not a socialist, taking exception to the way the Occupy Wall Street movement has sometimes been characterized.
“I’m not anti-capitalist,” said Hank Kratky, 50, Pendleton. “Is it wrong to acquire wealth? Absolutely not. People deserve what they earn through the sweat of their brow or their intelligence. What I object to is the cloistering of wealth and the systematic gaming of the rules to keep wealth in fewer and fewer hands.”
Call Star reporter Bill McCleery at (317) 444-6083
“Occupy Indianapolis” protest planned for Saturday
By Zach Myers
Members of a group called “Occupy Indianapolis” are planning to protest what they call corporate greed and influence in downtown Indianapolis this Saturday.
The group is a locally organized branch of the “Occupy Wall Street” group, which has been staging mass protests in New York City over the last few days. New York Police arrested hundreds of people who were part of those gatherings.
Indianapolis is just one of several cities where the “Occupy” movement is taking hold.
Social media sites like Facebook have several pages dedicated to other groups in cities like Los Angeles and Chicago. Indiana members are also calling for groups to organize in South Bend, Lafayette, Kokomo and Bloomington.
The “Occupy” group’s message covers a variety of specific points depending on who you talk to.
The overall theme is what they call the 99 percent of America fighting the richest 1 percent. Group members even refer to themselves as “the 99%.”
Opinions on the movement vary.
“I love that so many people are part of this movement, because I think America was built on the idea that we’re able to speak up for anything we believe in,” said Jen Bender, who is from New York doing business in Indianapolis.
“Business is what creates jobs in the this country,” said Pete Anderson, who is from Zionsville and works in downtown Indianapolis. “People protesting doesn’t create a job.”
Saturday’s protest is meant to be a kickoff for the “Occupy Indianapolis” movement.
Protesters are planning to meet Saturday at noon at the Veterans Memorial Plaza downtown.
The group’s website also features a map of downtown Indianapolis, with a route for marchers to follow from Pennsylvania Street, around Monument Circle and back up Meridian Street. The route would take the group past several high-profile downtown corporate headquarters.
The intent of the march is to disrupt pedestrian sidewalk traffic. It is not clear how much pedestrian traffic there will be on a Saturday. It is also not clear how large the demonstration will be.
The group’s Facebook page has attracted more than 3,000 members since it went active September 17th.
Officers with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department told FOX59 they are aware of the planned protest. IMPD was meeting Tuesday with Indiana State Police and Indiana Homeland Security about plans to maintain order downtown.
After this weekend, “Occupy Indianapolis” is planning to have a large presence at the City-County Council meeting on Monday Oct. 17th. The Council is expected to discuss the city budget during that meeting.