by April Foster
On the official two-month anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement, a crowd of Occupy Boise protesters marched through the rain to City Hall.
The protest was in response to recent evictions of Occupy camps in places like New York City, Portland and Seattle. It was also part of a nationwide “day of action,” in which tens of thousands of protesters held demonstrations across the country.
“The basic idea is to show solidarity with Wall Street on their two-month anniversary, and to show that we’re against what happened to them. It’s just not right,” said Richard Figinski, a local Occupier.
He added: “One of the advantages of the movement is that it’s horizontal, not vertical, so even if Zuccotti Park gets shut down, we’re still empowered by each other and ourselves to keep the movement going.”
Protesters were hoping they’d be able to speak with Mayor Dave Bieter, but the mayor was out of town. Instead a small group of them entered City Hall and asked to speak to another city representative.
An aid to the mayor, Michael Zuzel, came out and spoke to the crowd. Occupiers questioned him about the mayor’s stance on the First Amendment, to which he replied that the mayor is a strong supporter of First Amendment rights.
Protesters then tried to get into specifics, and Zuzel replied by saying that he’s not an elected official. Then they asked him if the mayor had made any assignments pertaining to the protection of First Amendment rights, to which Zuzel responded in the negative.
In addition to their appeal to the mayor, protesters were given a chance to air personal grievances in front of the crowd.
Grievances included the banking industry, corporate media, financial deregulation, union busting, the weakening of the middle class, wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the exporting of jobs, “special interest democracy,” and even Boise Weekly.
Protester Robert Stevahn criticized Boise Weekly because he felt that an article published earlier this week about an Occupy Boise action during a CCDC meeting misrepresented the group.
Aside from airing grievances, protesters also offered solutions. Some of the solutions included reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall Act, jobs legislation, education reform, health care reform and public financing.
One protester stood in front of the crowd and read her sign aloud: “I refuse to let blood-thirsty, profit-hungry monsters speak for me. How about you?”
Another protester did the same, loudly stating, “You can’t evict an idea whose time has come.”
A veteran stood in front of the crowd and said: “To my fellow veterans, get off your duffs and get out here. Fight for freedom!”
Another man stated, “I’m a capitalist, but I want to regulate capitalism. … We have to protect ourselves from corporations. We have to have laws.”
Another protester called out, “Unfettered capitalism in inherently undemocratic!”