The Occupy Wall Street movement had dozens of demonstrations over the weekend—with most of the actions being far from the world’s financial capitol. President Obama offered more support for protesters against the global financial system, but warned them against “demonizing” those who worked on Wall Street.
In total, 150 U.S. cities held Occupy rallies this weekend. According to the New York Times, California and Oregon hosted some of the country’s largest demonstrations over the weekend. Rome, Barcelona and Madrid also had an estimated 200k to 500k protesters in each city.
President Barack Obama has expressed his support for Occupy Wall Street, but this weekend he channeled Dr. King and delivered some mixed feelings about the movement. “Dr King would want us to challenge the excesses of Wall Street without demonizing those who work there,” Obama said this weekend at the Martin Luther King Memorial dedication in Washington.
His latest comments seem to be more neutral than ones made just a few week ago, when he said the Occupy protests “express the frustration” of ordinary Americans with the financial sector.
Immediately following the King Memorial dedication, professor and activist Cornel West channeled Dr. King his own way and joined the Occupy D.C. protests where he was arrested on the steps of the Supreme Court.
“We want to send a lesson to ourselves, to our loved ones, our families, our communities, our nation, and the world that out of deep love for working and poor people that we are willing to put whatever it takes — even if we get arrested today — and say ‘We will not allow this day of Martin Luther King Jr.’s memorial today to go without somebody going to jail.’ Because Martin King would be here right with us, with us to throw down out of deep love,” West said.
West was holding a sign that read, “Poverty Is the Greatest Violence of All,” and was arrested because holding political signs on the court steps is illegal. West was one of 19 protesters who were arrested.
In another more joyful peaceful protest, nine Brooklyn, N.Y. activists were arrested as they sang and temporarily halted the foreclosure auctions of three buildings in a Brooklyn Supreme Court.
The group, called Organizing for Occupation (O4O), was protesting what it views as a system designed to benefit financial lending institutions at the expense of homeowners and low-income communities.
“Ms. Auctioneer, all the people here, we’re asking you hold on the sale right now. We’re going to survive but we don’t know how,” protesters sang.