In DC and other cities, demonstrators rally at bridges


Story Transcript

DAVID DOUGHERTY, TRNN: Thousands of people took to the streets across the United States on Thursday, November 17, to express their solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement on its two-month anniversary. In Washington, DC, demonstrators marched from the Occupy campsite at McPherson Square through downtown before staging a rally with additional protestors at the Key Bridge. The demonstration was a confluence of organized labor groups, the Occupy movement, and organizations like “Our DC”, which focuses on unemployment and job creation in Washington. Latasha Carpenter and a group of Verizon coworkers and CWA union members embarked on a 20-mile march the previous day before arriving downtown to participate in the mobilization.

LATASHA CARPENTER, VERIZON WORKER, CWA LOCAL 2108: Well, for me, I’m a Verizon employee, and like most people may know, we were out on strike for three weeks back in August, and the Occupy people have–came out and supported us when we’ve had to go out to the Verizon Wireless stores and handbill the public to try to get their support. And we just want to return our support back to them. Fighting against the 1 percent and people that make a lot of money and they’re not paying their fair taxes and things, of us fighting against corporate greed that we have to experience with our CEO at Verizon, Lowell McAdams, is–again, it’s all the same fight, and we need to support each other.

DOUGHERTY: A number of bridges across the country also became the focal points of marches and rallies in a number of cities, including Boston, New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Seattle, and many more. In DC, demonstrators said the ailing Key Bridge represents a crumbling infrastructure in the United States that could be improved upon while generating employment through public infrastructure and job program investments.

OCCUPY DC PARTICIPANT: This is about work that needs doing. The Key Bridge has a structural integrity rating of D. Today we will line the bridge with the people that could do the work.

STEPHEN FRUM, REGISTERED NURSE, NATIONAL NURSES UNITED: We want to draw attention to the failure of the government to invest in the infrastructure here and the impact that that has on people, our commutes, our ability to get to and from work. And we believe that a fair tax on the speculators of Wall Street would help us to fund the jobs programs we need and the infrastructure we need to rebuild the country.

DOUGHERTY: DC’s 8th Ward has the highest unemployment rate in the country. Many members of the grassroots Our DC movement who attended the Key Bridge rally shared concerns over the impacts that social program cuts and a lack of employment opportunities are having on DC communities.

NADENIA, OUR DC: We’re the group that’s fighting to bring better jobs. We need to stop the Senate from stopping all these programs that a lot of people rely on, like Social Security, unemployment benefits, childcare entitlement, all of these things, WIC, welfare, everything. It’s frustrating. It’s very devastating and depressing.

ED HEARD, DISABLED VETERAN, FORMER POSTAL WORKER: We need–definitely need to bring the jobs back. Just back in September my Medicare was shut off. I won’t get my Medicare back until 1 January. And it’s a sad state of DC, the job situation, the housing situation. It’s just totally ridiculous. We need Congress–we need you people to stand up and recognize and support our cause. We are the 99 percent that need jobs. We need education. We need funds to support our family.

DOUGHERTY: Hundreds of people were arrested in cities across the country during Occupy marches and rallies held on Thursday. In New York City alone, more than 300 demonstrators were arrested following attempts at disrupting morning Wall Street traffic. There were no arrests reported in DC, which has so far allowed occupiers to maintain their camp areas in McPherson Square and Independence Plaza. In New York, the birthplace of the Occupy movement remained vacated of tents after being cleared out on Tuesday, but hundreds of people have returned to the park, gathering and holding general assemblies while surrounded by police officers. This is David Dougherty with The Real News Network.

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