Local News

Hundreds 'occupy' Raleigh, Durham to echo Wall Street protest

Posted October 2, 2011 10:45 p.m. EDT
Updated October 3, 2011 6:39 a.m. EDT

— Hundreds of people gathered in downtown Raleigh and Durham on Sunday to show solidarity with an ongoing protest against corporate greed and social inequality on Wall Street.

The Occupy Wall Street movement started with just a dozen college students three weeks ago, but has spread across the nation despite a lack of clear leadership and concrete proposals to fix the ailing economy. The protesters themselves, however, say the gatherings are a way to express mounting frustration about lopsided distributions of money and power in the United States.

Tanya Glover attended the Occupy Raleigh protest at Moore Square Sunday evening. She said she feels like the American people are getting "dumped on" by corporations and Congress.

"The (bank bailout) money went straight back into the pockets of CEOs and corporations," she said. "We work harder, we get taxed more. The corporations give money to the politicians and the politicians are serving the corporations. The corporations are not people." 

She said not matter what she does or how hard she works, she continues to get poorer while the rich get richer.

"I've never done anything like this before and I don't know everything that's going on and I don't pretend to understand it all. I know that I get up every morning and I bust my butt to take care of my family and I'm getting nowhere," Glover said.

Rep. Brad Miller, a Democrat who represents the state's 13th District, which includes Raleigh, came to listen to protesters' concerns. He said it's a question of injustice.

"The people who caused the financial crisis (and) the painful recession that we've been through seem to have gotten off scot-free," Miller said. "The people who did suffer were really without blame, and that offends people."

Protester J.J. Jiang agreed.

"The taxpayers' money bailed them out and they didn't sacrifice anything, but actually they benefited," Jiang said.

Miller said he thinks people's anger can be fueled to affect policy decisions.

"Maybe we need to start with the anger and then develop the proposals based on that," he said. "I think if you ask people here, they would say, 'Yeah, banks ought not be as big as they are.' There are legislative proposals – I introduced one in the House that went nowhere – but if there was a movement behind it, pushing it, it would make a big difference."

Glover said the protests are a step in the right direction.

"It's groups like this that have changed America," she said. "It may take a long time, but it will happen. I believe it."