Billionaire doorstepping: Wall Street protesters off to East Side
Between 400 and 800 demonstrators from the weeks-long Occupy Wall Street campaign marched toward Manhattan’s Upper East Side, targeting five of the city’s wealthiest residents. The activists say the so-called "Billionaire's Tour" is to raise awareness of the 2 percent tax break for rich Americans, which is set to expire this year.
Amid the worsening economic crisis, many see the tax break as a needed source of revenue for the government.
The list of tycoons who were targeted by demonstrators included News Corporation's Rupert Murdoch, JPMorgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon, David Koch of the energy conglomerate Koch Industries, hedge-fund manager John Paulson and real estate developer Howard Milstein.
When the crowd reached the residence of JPMorgan Chase chief Jamie Dimon, they found the building surrounded by barricades. Nevertheless, a woman came out of the house to tell demonstrators that she supported the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Meanwhile, on Saturday the US anti-bank demonstration is set to go global. An “International Day of Action against Banks” will be held in at least 260 cities across the world, from London to Las Vegas, the organizers told RT.
Hundreds of Americans have been camping in a park near Wall Street since mid-September, protesting against corporate greed and social and financial inequality.
The movement soon spread beyond New York, first into liberal centers including Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles, then to dozen of other cities including Tampa Bay in Florida, Seattle in Washington and Austin in Texas.
As the movement has picked up pace, it has also faced a more serious response from the authorities. More than 700 people were arrested during recent marches in New York, where some police used pepper spray against demonstrators.
On Tuesday, Boston police arrested over 100 demonstrators from the Occupy Boston movement. There were reports of war veterans beaten in the arrests.
The middle class way of life is now under assault in the US, argued Sarah Van Gelder, co-founder and editor of YES! magazine.
“An awful lot of people who have been suffering from the very poor economy have been suffering alone,” she told RT. “This is an opportunity to come out and realize that this is not their fault that they are unemployed, that they are losing their homes, that they cannot afford decent education or healthcare. They are starting to realize it is all connected to the extraordinary power of Wall Street.”