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Occupy Wall Street protests draw attention nationally, overseas

5:36 PM, Oct 13, 2011   |    comments
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In Colorado, there are protests in Denver, Fort Collins, Boulder, Longmont, Aspen and Colorado Springs.

The Occupy Denver protesters claim to have 500 supporters in downtown Denver. There are roughly two dozen tents set up so far on the Capitol Center complex between Lincoln Avenue and Broadway.

However, in a statement Thursday morning, Governor Hickenlooper clearly stated that the protesters have until Thursday night to pack their bags and leave. He claims that although he agrees that these protesters have a right to speak their mind - their camping out overnight could be dangerous to the public.

Mark Silverstein, the ACLU legal director, felt that the posting of tents could be a "symbolic speech that's protected by the First Amendment."

"I'm not saying they have a legal right in court to keep those tents there," Silverstein went on to say. "We'd ask the question: Is there a way the government can accommodate the expression without having to shut it down, without having to clear people out of the park?"

Derrick Frazier recently joined the Occupy Denver movement because he liked the group's approach and what they stood for: make a change in our country and do it without violence. He believes that is why the group has not been removed from the Capitol Center complex.

"The police see that it is non-violent, it is not what they thought it would be," Frazier said. "People are good. That makes a difference a big difference."

The Occupy movement is now getting support out of the United States.

Poland's former President Lech Walesa says he supports the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York, saying he is planning either a visit or writing a letter to the protesters.

Walesa said the global economic crisis has made people aware that "we need to change the capitalist system" because we need "more justice, more people's interests, and less money for money's sake."

Meanwhile, Iran's top leader said the wave of protests reflects a serious problem that will ultimately topple capitalism in America. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei claimed the United States is in a full-blown crisis because its "corrupt foundation has been exposed to the American people."

Khamenei's remarks came a day after U.S. officials said the Obama administration plans to leverage charges that Iran plotted to assassinate Saudi Arabia's ambassador into a new global campaign to isolate the Islamic republic.

For the past 3 1/2 weeks, the protesters have besieged a park in lower Manhattan near Wall Street to rally primarily against corporate greed as what they say is the primary cause for the country's failing economy.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg visited them Wednesday at Zuccotti Park, where protesters have been camped out since mid-September. Bloomberg told them park owner Brookfield Properties plans to clean the public space on Friday, and said they would be allowed to return after the park is clean.

Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway said in a statement that the protest has "created unsanitary conditions and considerable wear and tear on the park." He said Brookfield Properties asked for police help to clear the park so it can be cleaned.

Allison Esso of Human Services Council, a group that supports the protesters, was wary. "I'm hoping that they're not trying to undermine their ability to protest," she said.

The New York protest has triggered sympathetic groups in other cities, who each stage their own local rallies and demonstrations: Occupy Boston, Occupy Cincinnati, Occupy Houston, Occupy Los Angeles, Occupy Philadelphia, Occupy Providence, Occupy Salt Lake, and Occupy Seattle, among them.

Protesters say they are in it for the long haul, despite the onset of cold weather.

The New York demonstrators gathered Wednesday at the headquarters of JP Morgan Chase, where they'll continue to decry the expiration of the state's 2 percent "millionaires' tax" in December.

Meanwhile, a lawyer for a woman pepper sprayed during an action last month is demanding that the Manhattan district attorney prosecute an NYPD deputy inspector on an assault charge. Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the matter was being investigated by police internal affairs and the Civilian Complaint Review Board.

The New York state comptroller has issued a report showing that Wall Street is again losing jobs because of global economic woes. The job losses threaten tax revenue for a city and state heavily reliant on the financial industry.

The industry shed 4,100 jobs in late spring and summer and could lose nearly 10,000 more by the end of 2012, Comptroller Thomas Napoli said. That would bring the total industry loss to 32,000 positions since the financial meltdown of 2008.

The sector employed 166,600 people in investment banks, securities trading firms and hedge funds as of August.

(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation with The Associated Press)

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