The populist-themed, and increasingly popular, Occupy Wall Street movement hit Connecticut’s capital city on Wednesday, as dozens of protestors of all ages and races gathered before the entrance to Bushnell Park in Hartford to express their dissatisfaction with what they termed income inequality and corporate greed.
What started as a small gathering of a handful of protestors shortly after 8 a.m. Wednesday morning had swelled to a large and vocal group that numbered over a hundred less than an hour later — and the movement showed no signs of losing steam as the morning wore on and more and more people seemed to be drawn to the crowd.
“I haven’t been to a protest in years, but this brings me out because I am concerned,” said David Morse, of Storrs who described himself as a freelance journalist who also owns and operates several rental properties. Morse wore a blue suit and tie and carried a sign that read, “Tax the Rich.” He said he was concerned that the income gap between the upper class and the middle class in America was causing irreparable harm not just to the economy but the welfare of the country.
Jule Michel, a social worker from Hartford who emigrated from Germany five years ago, said she was drawn to the group because of the economic disparity between rich and poor in this country.
“I came here to show my support for a moment that, hopefully, creates an understanding that giving to the rich with tax breaks and bank bailouts and anything that removes money from the middle class to the upper class needs to end,” she said. “Everybody needs to start paying their fair share.”
Michel said she was alerted to Wednesday’s protest via a website, occupywallst.org.
The movement, which began in September in New York City with a series of protest in downtown Manhattan, has been gaining steam across the nation of late thanks to social media groups and the Internet. Wednesday’s protest in Hartford is just one of dozens of similar protest already held or planned throughout the nation.
Joe Prue, of eastern Connecticut who was one of the first protestors on the scene Wednesday morning, said a Facebook group to promote Wednesday’s event, Occupy Hartford, started with seven likes last week. As of Wednesday morning, it had over 1,130 likes.
“We have no centralized leadership and we have to determine our demands,” Prue said. “But you can’t deny that this movement is catching on with people.”
Whether or not the Occupy Wall Street movement has traction or transformative staying power remains to be seen, but it was clearly striking a chord with many in Hartford on Wednesday.
A motorist idling in traffic in front of the park beeped his horn at the crowd, rolled down his window and called out to them,” I lost my retirement. Can you help me find it?”