Occupy Wall Street vioce grows louder

Updated: 2011-10-11 06:50


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NEW YORK - The efforts of Occupy Wall Street protesters appeared to be gaining steam as they camped out at Lower Manhattan's Zuccotti Park for the 24th day on Monday.

Since September 17, protesters have set up their own impromptu village in Zuccotti Park with no sign of slowing its growth. There are status boards with the weather, the schedule for the day and coverage of the protests in the media.

At the comfort station, protesters can get clothes and hand- warmers. At the kitchen station, protesters have set up a filtration system that cleans dishwater by filtering it through soil and gravel. The effluent is then used to water plants in the park."Obviously there's a lot of discontent in America. It (Occupy Wall Street) is the beginning of people meeting with others, discussing what are the true issues and then working together to make changes," a protester named Athena Soules told Xinhua.

"If enough people gather here, changes will happen," she added.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg also softened his stance on Monday toward the protest, saying that protesters will be allowed to "express themselves" as long as they obey the laws.

"The bottom line is people want to express themselves. And as long as they obey the laws, we will allow them to," Bloomberg said when responding to questions at the Columbus Day Parade.

He added that if the protesters do something illegal, "...we're going to do what we're supposed to do - enforce the laws."  Organizers of this leaderless protest against income inequality and corporate greed also billed Monday as "Kids Speak Out" day, given that many school children are off for Columbus Day.

"Even as banks got bailed out, American children have witnessed their parents get tossed out of their homes and lose their jobs. Public school kids have lost arts, music and physical education," the movement's website said. "Now our kids can see activists take these issues to the streets in a democratic forum at Occupy Wall Street."  The Rev. Al Sharpton also broadcast his syndicated radio show in  Zuccotti Park on Monday, calling more people to support the demonstration.

US company Ben & Jerry's issued a statement of solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement over the weekend, saying that "The inequity that exists between classes in our country is simply immoral."  In addition, organizers also set a new date for a major demonstration: October 15, which they are calling a global "Day of Action against Banks".  

Starting in New York and spreading almost daily,the protests have reached more than 100 major US cities, attracting thousands of protesters powered by social- networking sites.