Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Occupy Sacramento participants festive, persistent

By Cynthia Hubert
chubert@sacbee.com

PUBLISHED SUNDAY, OCT. 09, 2011

The Occupy Sacramento movement took on a festival-like atmosphere Saturday evening at Cesar Chavez Plaza, with more than 300 people milling, lounging, singing and waving signs critical of Wall Street and corporate America.
Some participants in the national resistance movement marched on J Street during Second Saturday, the city's monthly art walk, later in the evening to draw more attention to their message.
Much of their frustration seems centered on banks and other large corporations, which they contend hold too much power and are dismissive of people who are suffering in the midst of a recession.
More than a dozen dome tents dotted the park across from City Hall near Ninth and J streets about 6:30 p.m. Saturday, and organizers were laying in supplies in anticipation of staying for a while.
The scene was largely sedate, with handmade signs ringing the plaza's fountains and couples and families resting on blankets. Two men played chess. One woman held a protest sign in one hand and tossed a ball to her dog with the other. Demonstrators occasionally erupted in song or began chanting, and people took turns at a bullhorn, bellowing, "Occupy!" and "Let's make our voices heard!"
Police arrested 20 people on Thursday night for sleeping in the park after its 11 p.m. closing time, and kept them in jail overnight. Only one person was cited Friday night.
"Most of us disassembled when we saw the police coming in their riot gear," said Sean Thompson, one of the local organizers. The local group is part of a burgeoning movement that began in New York's financial district more than three weeks ago as Occupy Wall Street and has spread across the country.
The protests have made headlines and drawn crowds, but some observers question the movement's lack of clear leadership or focus.

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