Protesters Occupy Boston’s Financial District

BOSTON (CBS) – There’s a city within a city in downtown Boston.

About 100 people have set up tents in the Financial District for a protest called “Occupy Boston.”

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Karen Twomey reports

It’s part of a nationwide movement against what they say is continuing corporate greed.

A similar demonstration has been going on Wall Street for three weeks.

The Boston group marched from their tent city to the State House Monday morning, calling for political and financial reform.

“We’re talking about the fact that corporate interests have an inordinate amount of control over the democratic process and the 99-percent of us out here, our voices aren’t being heard the way they should be,” said 26-year-old Jason Potteiger of Boston, who’s looking for a job in politics and advertising.

“We’re the 99-percent. One-percent of the people in America control 50-percent of America’s wealth. More importantly, many of them are using that wealth to undermine democracy,” said Nadeem Mazen, who has a design firm in Cambridge.

On Friday, two dozen protesters were arrested for trespassing at the Bank of America building.

Monday’s protest was peaceful and there were no arrests.

“When I’m looking around at people my age and when I’m thinking about myself looking for a job, I wanted to make sure that I came out here and I was part of the dialogue about what direction this country is headed in, because when I think about myself and my friends, we’re really wondering what the next week, month, or year is going to look like as we’re trying to pay off all of our student loans,” Potteiger told WBZ-TV.

The young men and women make all decisions as a group and have what they call general assembly meetings twice a day. They’re planning at least one “direct action” every day, like Monday’s march.

They also have several groups meeting to organize everything from food to dealing with the media.

“What I’m most excited about is there is direct democracy happening here, people are making decisions through consensus processes,” said protester Brendan Curran of Danvers.

“Young people are going to be in debt for the rest of their lives, while banks and corporations are getting bailed out, people are getting million dollar bonuses.”

WBZ-TV’s Karen Anderson reports

People have been dropping off food for the group to show support. Wendy Nicholas gave them some cookies on her way to work.

“I support what these folks are campaigning for, when you’ve got a teeny percent of the American population making more than all the rest of the American population, when you get a budget situation where this Congress won’t ask the wealthiest of Americans to pay more and instead are trying to solve the problem on the backs of the elderly and the poor. And when you get the American taxpayers bailing out the banks and insurance companies and they still get their bazillion dollar bonuses? Yeah! I support what these guys are fighting for. It’s ridiculous.”

Congressman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) weighed in on the protests, saying he understands the frustration.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Kim Tunnicliffe reports.

Emily McArthur of Boston works at a food truck in Dewey Square.

Why is she joining Occupy Boston?

“I’ve worked hard, I’ve watched my parents work hard, and we still had our electricity turned off, we’ve never owned a home, we’ve had our water turned off, and that’s not okay,” she said.

“There’s this false American dream where if you work hard enough, if you are just passionate enough, than your life will turn out well and you will turn out successful and your family will turn out successful, and that’s a lie. Wealth is too concentrated in the top one-percent and in order for the vast majority of Americans to survive, that needs to change.”

The group says they plan to stay indefinitely. McArthur says, “Until we get some recognition in our government.”

WBZ-TV’s Karen Anderson contributed to this report.


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