The Wall Street protests against economic inequality and corporate greed that targeted the nerve centre of American capitalism are no longer merely a New York phenomenon. This weekend, from Seattle and Los Angeles on the west coast to Providence, Rhode Island, and Tampa, Florida, on the east, as many as 70 major cities and more than 600 communities have joined the swelling wave of civil dissent. The slogan "Occupy Wall Street" has been suitably abbreviated to a single word: "Occupy"...................................
Protests broke out last week in Chicago, Boston, Memphis, New Orleans, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, Austin, Louisville, Atlanta and dozens of other cities. Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Calgary are set to add themselves to the ranks next weekend.
Motorists honked their support as they passed the Seattle demonstration, which was around 500 strong on Friday and likely to swell as the weekend progressed. Earlier in the week the police forced protestors to clear away tents that had been multiplying across the square. Seattle's liberal mayor Mike McGinn supports the protesters – but drew the line once they started camping in the middle of downtown.
In New York more than 700 people have been arrested while marching on the stock exchange and over the Brooklyn Bridge in the name of Occupy Wall Street and 20,000 marched in lower Manhattan last Wednesday.
The sheer proliferation of the rallies across 45 states has drawn attention. "It expresses the frustrations the American people feel about the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression," President Obama said. "There has been huge collateral damage all across 'Main Street' [from the financial crisis] and some of the same folks who acted irresponsibly are now trying to fight a crackdown on the abusive practices that got us into this in the first place," he added.