Demonstrators Occupy Springfield
Nearly 100 people waved signs and shouted “We are the 99.”
by Mary Moloney, Jason Crow
Saturday, people gathered together for one purpose: to Occupy Springfield. Inspired by the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations, nearly 100 people stood on the corner of Glenstone and Battlefield. People of every economic background, from the homeless to those who make millions, were shoulder to shoulder waving signs, chanting, and banging drums.
“We are the 99!” exclaimed Natalee Bell with a smile.
That phrase has become the battle cry for the movement spanning the country. Protesters were unified in their pleas for politicians to listen to what they claim is the majority and not the top one percent of money makers.
“People are fed up,” said Midge Potts, who is associated with Occupy Springfield. “There’s veterans that are involved in this. There’s people over 50, there’s people under 15. There’s black, white, gay, straight. Every type of people is out here because we are all the 99 percent.”
Talk about the unemployment rate, America’s debt crisis, and party politics dominated the conversations of the demonstrators.
“We’ve not made the unemployed or the poor a priority,” explained Dr. Roger Ray, wearing a costume from the movie V for Vendetta. “We are literally creating a peasant class in the richest country in the world.”
Occupy Springfield organized in the past week, using social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to spread the message.
To see the Occupy Springfield Facebook page, click here.
“The power of social networking has brought people together very very quickly,” said Justin Crabtree, holding a sign. “Things are spreading viral and yeah, it’s happening really fast.”
Some people around the Ozarks don’t agree with the protests.
“I grew up in a family of 12. I worked hard and now I have millions,” said one woman who drove around the protesters giving the thumbs down. “I don’t understand what these people are doing.”
Also, politicians in Washington are resisting the movement.
“I’m increasingly concerned about the growing mobs occupying Wall Street and the other cities across the country,” said House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.
Here at home, protesters thought Washington insiders from both parties were simply out of touch.
“The Democratic Party and the Republican Party have governed in more or less the same way in response to corporations. And they do that because they believe that American voters are asleep. That they just don’t get it. And until Americans take to the streets and make their presence known, they will continue to believe that we don’t get it,” explained Ray.
“I hope that’s what comes out of this Occupy Movement is that people from both sides that are fed up come out and start meeting each other and stop the arguing and start creating dialogue,” said Potts.
Occupy Springfield plans to have another demonstration in the coming days.
Occupy Wall Street Support Reaches Springfield, MO
by: Kevin Schwaller
(Springfield, MO) — Support for the Occupy Wall Street protests is spreading to the Ozarks.
Demonstrators are organizing in Springfield.
“I work about 30 hours a week as well as go to classes full time,” said Seth Merritt, who was making a sign at an Occupy Springfield meeting. “I’m out here… because, just like a huge amount of Americans, I’m upset about how little people like me make and how much people at the top make.”
A group calling itself Occupy Springfield started meeting this week in Phelps Grove Park.
“Today is our first real protest together and we’ll be walking down through the Art Walk,” said Kellen Mcilroy, an Occupy Springfield supporter. “There are plans for a potential occupation of a public space.”
The occupy Springfield Facebook page has hundreds of likes. Supporters are also communicating through Twitter and a blog.
“Even though, we started out as people with many different thought processes, we all want to affect change in a way that’s positive for humans all over the world as well as the earth around us,” said Mcilroy.
Their message echoes the calls from New York and other cities including St. Louis and Washington D.C.
“The message is hey we’re fed up in almost a nonpartisan way, might be the best way to look at this. Because they’re not too happy with the president.” said Dr. Brian Calfano, MSU Professor and KOLR10 political analyst. “They’re certainly not too happy with the folks on Wall Street.”
“The movement, as a whole, wants to change this paradigm of corporate rule of our government,” an Midge Potts, another Occupy Springfield supporter.
“You think this is going to be going away anytime soon,” asked reporter Kevin Schwaller.
“Oh no, this will be here all the way through 2012,” said Mcilroy.
The group operates without a central leader or hierarchy.
The people at the meeting voiced concerns about media, the Federal Reserve, rules regulating campaign donations and other issues.
House Majority Leader, Rep. Eric Cantor (R), says he has concerns about what he calls the growing “mobs” occupying Wall Street and other cities.
President Obama says he believes the protests express the frustrations Americans feel since the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression.