Occupy Seattle: Still at Westlake Park, still wet and still staying
Occupy Seattle protesters continue to weather the rain and exposure, with the aid of one structure for storing and distributing food and some first-aid care.
Monday morning, roughly 50 occupiers of Westlake Park milled about while many still slept or huddled against the rain under plastic tarps and whatever other makeshift barriers they could create to stay warm and dry.
One protestor and organizer said she intended to stay in the park indefinitely or until the "National Guard rolls in with tanks."
At an informal media event in City Hall today, Mayor Mike McGinn expressed solidarity with what he believes is the protesters’ general message:
“I think the overall message is one about rising income inequality in this country and people don’t feel that the elected officials and politicians are addressing it. And I, personally, I think they’re right,” he said.
Admitting that it was tough for the city to find organizers who can speak for the group, McGinn did say that last week the city approved a two-week permit for Occupy Seattle to be at Westlake Park, as long as the tents don’t come back and protesters don’t block access to businesses.
“Again, we’re not in the position where anybody actually speaks for them as a designated leader who has the authority to do that. So we’re just kind of dealing with it on a day-to-day basis,” McGinn said.
The Seattle Times reported that the Occupy Seattle protest overall appears to be getting more organized as it enters it second week, with protestors yesterday forming daily general assemblies and organized work groups aimed at sustaining a 24-hour presence downtown.
McGinn has offered to let the protestors camp at City Hall plaza.
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Occupy Tacoma and others
Meanwhile, in Tacoma, about 200 people marched and rallied Friday in support of New York’s “Occupy Wall Street” demonstration against corporate political power. Other Washington cities and neighbors, Spokane, Vancouver and Portland, also held demonstrations over the weekend.
Friday in Bellingham, parts of Cornwall Avenue were blocked as hundreds of protesters gathered downtown to rally against economic inequality and corporations with too much power, according to the Bellingham Herald.
The national scene
The Huffington Post reports that the Occupy movements throughout the country continued to gain momentum through the weekend, branching out and growing in numbers in cities such as Boston, Washington DC, Denver, LA and Portland. Some protestors, such as those in Occupy DC, plan to continue demonstrating even after their permits expire.
Big names came out in approval or disapproval of the Occupy movements over the weekend. Ranging from sympathy from President Obama and Vice President Biden to condemnation from House Majority leader Eric Cantor and Senator John McCain, the nationwide movements continue to gain media attention. Labor unions have given their support as well, and even Ben & Jerry’s ice cream has voiced its support to Occupy Wall Street.
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