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"Occupy Wall Street" protests, which started in New York in mid-September and have spread to dozens of U.S. cities including Los Angeles, have revealed the anger of Americans over the economic injustice in the country, leading protesters here say.
People hold placards with slogans to attend protests against Wall Street greed in New York, Oct. 5, 2011. [Xinhua]
The movement seems without focused demand, they say. But from New York in the east to Los Angeles in the west, one slogan is common: "We are the 99 percent."
Joe Briones, one of the organizers for Occupy LA, told Xinhua that people join the protests to voice their concerns. In his view, the major problem that has made people frustrated is that Wall Street banks and big corporations have increasing influence on the government and politicians, and those greedy corporations try to influence the government for their own benefits at the cost of the majority of Americans, the 99 percent.
"This situation should be stopped, and I think that's one goal we should accomplish," said Briones.
Several hundred frustrated residents and homeowners marched in Los Angeles, California on Thursday to protest against big banks for "destroying jobs and neighborhoods with their greedy, reckless and predatory business practices." The protesters marched outside the offices of Wall Street banks, including Bank of America, Chase and Wells Fargo.
"I am a human being and I demand economic justice," shouted participants of Occupy LA when they demonstrated in front of Los Angeles city hall...
On the lawn of the northwest side of Los Angeles city hall, dozens of tents have been set up since Oct.1 by people who came to Occupy LA. With diverse signs and different slogans, most of the protesters claim they are the 99 percent.
Organizers there were soliciting signatures to join what they call the "revolution" as a member of the Occupy LA and stand in solidarity "against oppression." They claimed that one percent of the population in the U.S. now controls the distribution of wealth, and the 99 percent of Americans who live, work and struggle to survive everyday in Los Angeles.
A 19-year old boy who identified himself as Bluesclues told Xinhua that he was born in the U.S. but was out of school when he was 15.
"It is not I who failed the school, it is the school that failed me," said Bluesclues.
He said he had been homeless since 15, Los Angeles streets are his home. He has tried to find a job and sometimes he did have a job, but could not tolerate the slavery and discrimination by the rich and greedy corporations.
"We need education, not entertainment, but they just deprived me of the right," said Bluesclues.
Aimee Ewell, an African American girl, told Xinhua she had graduated from college majoring in communications and has been working at a restaurant. Her boy friend has lost his job and has joined Occupy LA to live in a tent there since last Saturday.
Ewell said many Americans like her boy friends have lost their jobs or simply could not find any job after graduation. They need jobs to support themselves and they need fairness in wealth distribution.
"We are the 99 percent in America, but those one percent controls the wealth. We need equal opportunity, we need to do something for a change," said Ewell.
The slogan "We Are the 99 percent" refers to the fact that, according to Nobel economist Joseph Stiglitz and sociologist William Domhoff, the top one percent of Americans own more than 40 percent of the nation's wealth (total net worth minus the value of one's home), while the bottom 80 percent of the population own only seven percent of the wealth.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) states that the top one percent of Americans "is taking in more of the nation' s income than at any other time since the 1920s." CBPP is one of the U.S.' premier policy organizations working at the federal and state levels on fiscal policy and public programs that affect low- and moderate-income families and individuals.