Aurora protest shows solidarity with Occupy Wall Street
By Matt Brennan For Sun-Times Media October 15, 2011 5:08PM
Protesters march along Liberty Street in front of a Bank of America branch on Saturday as part of an Occupy Aurora rally, coinciding with protests across the globe born out of the Occupy Wall Street movement. | Jeff Cagle~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 3, 2011 8:03AM
Much of the national attention on the Occupy Wall Street movement has focused on the idea that there is no agenda. Aurora resident Paul Clarke said the media is fixated on the idea that the movement is broad reaching and unfocused.
Clarke stood with about 15 local residents at Route 59 and Liberty Street on a windy Saturday morning as part of an Occupy Aurora movement. The purpose of the movement was to show solidarity with the protests in larger cities, protesters said.
“We’re not saying that we have all the answers,” Clarke said. “We’re saying there’s a problem.”
Clarke is 30 years old. Several of the Aurora protesters were older than that. These are issues that effect all age groups, he said. Younger generations of Americans are starting to pay attention to the issues related to this movement, he said.
“We haven’t had a voice,” he said. “We’ve been silent and complacent. It’s time to stand up for what we believe in.”
His sign read, “I can’t afford a lobbyist. I am the 99 percent.” There were other signs with phrases such as “War is Stupid,” and “Wage Peace.”
Aurora resident Nadia Kanhai helped organize Saturday’s protest via the Internet. It is pretty much the same issues that are bringing people out around the globe, she said. They are looking for more equality and justice within the economic system, she said.
“If it were even just a little more fair and equal it would make a difference with the 99 percent of us,” she said.
The group organized at the intersection. As the number of people grew, they walked down Liberty Street to the Bank of America.
They stood in the parkway in front of the bank’s sign chanting, “We are the 99 percent.”
No one from the bank commented on the movement.
Aurora resident Earl G. Bley Jr. came out to support the national movement, he said. He served in Vietnam, and belongs to several veterans for peace organizations. His sign read, “I’m proud to be an American. I’m ashamed of my government.”
“I think that corporations have basically bought this country,” he said.
It’s about Wall Street greed and corruption, and the need to regulate the banking industry, according to Naperville resident Stephanie Hughes. Her sign had a few phrases on it: “Down with dirty derivatives,” “Democracy must govern capitalism,” “Regulate for justice,” and “Share the wealth.”
She came out to fight against things such as predatory lending by the banks, she said.