American AwakeningNorth America

American Awakening:Protests heat up in major US cities

Protests against unemployment and social and political inequality gather pace in major US cities some three weeks into the launch of the ‘Occupy Wall Street (OWS)’ campaign in New York.

Rallying behind the OWS — originally launched against ‘corporate greed’ and meant to make life fair for 99 percent of the American populace — people again held peaceful protests across the country on Thursday, urging that the wealthiest one percent accept their share of the economic burden, Reuters reported.

The campaign, which emanated from downtown Manhattan, has developed spinoffs like ‘Occupy Chicago,’ ‘Occupy Los Angeles,’ ‘Occupy Seattle,’ as well as similar drives in many other cities.

While censuring the excessive influence of corporations on the country’s politics, the protesters have raised their voices against the high unemployment rate, which stood at 9.10 percent for August, home foreclosures, and Wall Street 2008 bailout for banks.

They say the generous bailouts hugely profited the banks, while the Joe Blow was made to take the brunt of job shortages and homelessness amid little help from the federal government

A protester said, “Never in the history of our world has this much wealth been concentrated in single hands, and it’s out of control.”

Another protested, “Why are we spending USD 3 trillion in occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, when 29 percent of the [Washington] DC citizens, in the capital, are living in poverty?”

Freedom Plaza in Washington DC has hosted a big rally, with the organizers, who say they owe their motivation to the January protests in the Egyptian capital, Cairo’s Liberation Square, asserting they will remain until their demands are met.

At the focal point, hundreds of ‘Occupy DC’ demonstrators have joined the protesters rallying behind the ‘Stop the Machine’ campaign. The movement originated a decade ago in opposition to the US-led invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq in 2001 and 2003.

On Wednesday, thousands of OWS protesters rallied on the US financial district joined by members of a number of labor unions, including nurses and teachers.

The law enforcement agents attacked a group of the demonstrators, who had started marching towards New York Stock Exchange, arresting around 30 people.

An eye-witness says, “Some of the people were sprayed in the eyes, and we have reports from other medics that they had been dragged away by the police, while they were treating people.

On Saturday, more than 700 people were arrested in New York when they were trying to hold a rally on the Brooklyn Bridge.

New York Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, has said, “But you’re not going to break the law and you’re not going to be allowed to keep other people from moving around. And we’ll enforce the law.”

The official, himself, has become a major target in the protests, being the 13th richest person in the US, with an estimated USD 18.1 billion in wealth.

The US President Barack Obama has described the protests a symptom of ‘frustration’ over the economic situation.

Some analysts do not bill the protests as being related to the conflict between the Democrats and the Republicans, but about the working class Americans standing up for their rights.

Another demonstrator said, “Neither party is going to help us. Both political parties are complicit in our downfall. People should have called it a ‘criminal syndicate.’”

Hailed by many as the American Awakening, the wave is expected to gather further momentum, with more protests planned for the coming days.

Many protesters hope the current movement grows to the point that it forces the US political system to acknowledge their calls.

“I wanna see this grow. The country’s been taken over by a small minority of people, who wing the system, all in their favor and it’s gotta stop,” said a protester.

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