While many Occupy protesters continue to rally on Wall Street and in cities like Boston and Oakland, others have decided to fight for the 99 percent in Newton.
On Monday evenings, between 5 and 6 p.m., a group of up to 30 protesters gather outside of the Bank of America branch in Newton Centre.“We want to remedy the gross injustices and growing inequality that have accompanied a profound shift in social policy from shared responsibility to naked self-interest,” said Virginia Robinson, a Newton resident who organized OccupyNewton. “We all know people who have lost their jobs, homes, livelihoods -- and hope. We demand that our economic system be put right, so the rich do not benefit at the expense of everyone else.”
The OccupyNewton protests have been meeting every Monday since the beginning of October and have no plans to stop. “Our plan right now is to bring the importance of the movement to the people passing through the center at rush hour.”
Around 40 to 50 people have joined or have expressed interest in joining the movement. Robinson hopes that number will grow.
Tilan Perera, assistant manager of the Newton Centre branch of Bank of America said he has never seen any protesters in front of the bank, which closes at 4 p.m. on Mondays, before the movement begins. He declined to comment further.
Robinson said they decided to protest in front of Bank of America because of the actions of the overall institution. “It's not that we are really protesting the local branch, I think that they are probably trying to be good neighbors, but their Daddy or their Mommy is pretty bad,” she said.
Protesters rally for issues including finance reform, fairness in taxation, effective regulation of the banking and financial system, and to end the wars abroad and devote money to veterans' assistance and other domestic programs.
“Above all, we want jobs that pay a living wage, for working people are the foundation of viable communities and a strong America,” said Robinson.
Robinson said that the Newton occupiers have begun the protests because they are thrilled and delighted that Occupy movements have taken off in the United States and around the world. “We just wanted to do whatever we can to support it,” she said.
She hopes that more cities and towns across Massachusetts will begin Occupy movements. “We would like to see more groups started,” she said. “We think it needs to happen everywhere.”
Occupy organizers recently met in nearby Needham, a sign the movement is spreading into some suburban communities.
Robinson said anybody is welcome to come and bring their signs to the movement. They can borrow already made signs if needed. “We invite everyone who is part of the 99 percent to join us in Newton Centre, as well as downtown, and make your voices heard,” she said.
Derek McLean can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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