NEW YORK—The Occupy Wall Street movement, which has spawned grass-roots activities around the U.S. and prompted comments from President Barack Obama, is now drawing political remarks from overseas.
Iran's top leader said Wednesday that the wave of protests reflects a serious problem that will ultimately topple capitalism in America. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei claimed the United States is in a full-blown crisis because its "corrupt foundation has been exposed to the American people."
The remarks came a day after U.S. officials said the Obama administration plans to leverage charges that Iran plotted to assassinate Saudi Arabia's ambassador into a new global campaign to isolate the Islamic republic.
For the past 3 1/2 weeks, the protesters have besieged a park in lower Manhattan near Wall Street to rally primarily against corporate greed as what they say is the primary cause for the country's failing economy.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg visited them Wednesday at Zuccotti Park, where protesters have been camped out since mid-September. Bloomberg told them park owner
Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway said in a statement that the protest has "created unsanitary conditions and considerable wear and tear on the park." He said Brookfield Properties asked for police help to clear the park so it can be cleaned.
Allison Esso of Human Services Council, a group that supports the protesters, was wary. "I'm hoping that they're not trying to undermine their ability to protest," she said.
The New York protest has triggered sympathetic groups in other cities, who each stage their own local rallies and demonstrations: Occupy Boston, Occupy Cincinnati, Occupy Houston, Occupy Los Angeles, Occupy Philadelphia, Occupy Providence, Occupy Salt Lake, and Occupy Seattle, among them.
Protesters say they are in it for the long haul, despite the onset of cold weather.
Occupy Seattle demonstrators sent the mayor a list of demands, including approval for large tents to be used as a kitchen, infirmary, storage area and information center -- and written approval of long-term occupancy.
In Washington, six people were arrested Tuesday for demonstrating inside a Senate office building. More than 125 protesters in Boston were arrested after they ignored warnings to move from a downtown green space, police said.
Protesters in New York gathered Wednesday at the headquarters of
Meanwhile, a lawyer for a woman pepper sprayed during an action last month is demanding that the Manhattan district attorney prosecute an NYPD deputy inspector on an assault charge. Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the matter was being investigated by police internal affairs and the Civilian Complaint Review Board.
The New York state comptroller has issued a report showing that Wall Street is again losing jobs because of global economic woes. The job losses threaten tax revenue for a city and state heavily reliant on the financial industry.
The industry shed 4,100 jobs in late spring and summer and could lose nearly 10,000 more by the end of 2012, Comptroller Thomas Napoli said. That would bring the total industry loss to 32,000 positions since the financial meltdown of 2008.
The sector employed 166,600 people in investment banks, securities trading firms and hedge funds as of August.
Christopher Guerra, an artist and Occupy Wall Street protester from Newark, N.J., said the job losses help the protesters' cause.
"That means more people on our side," Guerra said. "The companies are destroying this country by helping themselves, not the people, and pushing jobs out of America. If they get shafted, they will realize that what we are saying is true."
Contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Ali Akbar Darien in Tehran, Iran; Laura Crimaldi in Boston; and Kiley Armstrong in New York.