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By Argyle Staff
Now in its third week, the “Occupy Wall Street” movement, which started in New York City’s financial district on Sept. 17 as protests against perceived corporate greed and government inaction have since spread to at least 67 cities nationwide, spanning both coasts.
Hundreds have been arrested so far, but the movement continues to grow in popularity. Critics claim the grassroots movement does not have a coherent message or specific policy ideas, however protestors have rallied around several key issues.
Activists have voiced concern over widening income inequality and their desire to see the rich pay a higher share of income taxes, according to the New York Times. They want banks to be held accountable for reckless practices and the government to put greater emphasis on getting the unemployed back to work.
“If I had a job, I would not be here,” one woman at an Occupy rally in Cleveland told the BBC.
Democratic politicians, including President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi have voiced support for the protesters, with Obama saying he empathizes with their “frustration.” But it is not clear the protesters want the support of the Democratic establishment given many are angry at what they believe to be the current administration’s ineptitude.
Republican leaders have expressed little sympathy for the protesters.
“We have had a strain of hostility to free enterprise and frankly, a strain of hostility to classic America starting in our academic institutions and spreading across this country,” former House Speaker and 2012 Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich told CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday. “I regard the Wall Street protesters as a natural outcome of a bad education system teaching them really dumb ideas.”