Equipped with tents, signs, bullhorns and even pumpkins for Halloween, metro Detroiters who are part of the Occupy
Detroit movement have been camped out at Grand Circus Park since Friday, Oct. 14.
Detroit’s interpretation of the Occupy Wall Street movement hit the city last month when a large crowd gathered in front of a Bank of America to protest continuing home foreclosures in the face of an economic decline.
Protestors carried signs, waved banners and shouted slogans as they demonstrated.
The protest was organized by Occupy Detroit, an offshoot of Occupy Wall Street, which began Sept. 17 as a small grassroots movement after a small group of people camped out in lower Manhattan to protest the Wall Street bailout.
“From what I’ve seen, it seems like they have the right idea, but it’s coming across as silly and ridiculous,” Cortney Biskner, psychology major at Oakland University, said.
The slogan for the movement, ‘we are the 99 percent,’ refers to difference in wealth between the wealthiest one percent and the rest of the population.
Many of the demonstrators feel that the country’s banks and top wage earners hold a disproportionate share of money and power over the government and economy. Participants are protesting for social and economic equality, corporate greed, corruption and influence over the government and lobbyists.
Supporters of the movement in Detroit organized Occupy Detroit through social media websites like Facebook. The movement’s Facebook page currently has over 8,900 ‘likes.’
The campaign was officially launched when the first movement was held Oct. 14.
Supporters gathered in front of the Spirit of Detroit statue and marched to Grand Circus Park to occupy the area indefinitely. Hundreds of activists joined the movement as they marched down Woodward Avenue and set up camp in Grand Circus Park. Protestors said they may occupy the area for up to 60 days.
Participants said they wanted a revolution, proclaiming that they were fed up with corporate greed, social injustice and the gulf between the rich and poor.
Some of the signs at occupy Detroit read: ‘capitalism in the crisis,’ ‘end greed,’ ‘save public education’ and ‘R.I.P. American dream.’
“I decided to attend the Occupy Detroit protest because I absolutely hate the way society is run today,” Deena Borza, philosophy major at OU, said. “I attend so my voice can be heard.”
More than 1,000 communities, including many Michigan cities, are in various stages of occupation or planning a similar movement. Demonstrations have already been held in Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo and Lansing.
Several other spin-off groups have already formed around Michigan. Groups like Occupy Ann Arbor, Occupy Monore, Occupy Flint and Occupy Grand Rapids are planning rallies and meet and greets all over the state. Occupy Wall Street has spread to over 100 cities in the United States and sparked action in over 1,500 cities globally.
“People are just now starting to realize that something needs to change,” Borza said. “People are starting to get fed up … The rich become richer and the poor become poorer. It’s unjust.”
Those interested in Occupy Detroit can visit Grand Circus Park at any time to inquire about encampment. More information can also be found on their Facebook page or www.occupy-detroit.us