SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Hundreds of protesters gathered in Cesar Chavez Park on Thursday to stand in solidarity with the growing nationwide demonstrations aimed at corporate greed, but some members of the peaceful event showed hostility to media members over basic questions about the goals of the protest.
“Occupy Sacramento,” which was portrayed as the local foothold for the rally that has entered its third week in front of Wall Street in New York City, drew impassioned speakers and a wide variety of viewpoints when the rally began Thursday morning, with demonstrations lasting past midnight.
Police warned protesters that they could be subject to citation or arrest by 11:00 p.m., but no arrests had been reported by midnight.
Organizer Anthony Bondi said he has what he referred to as a “message team” working on the primary goals of the local protests, which he admitted “was kind of vague.”
“That message team will reveal that tomorrow [Friday] morning,” Bondi said.
“So you guys are in the process of forming the reasons why you are here?” asked CBS13 reporter Tony Lopez.
“Exactly correct,” Bondi said.
Other protesters gave clearer reasons for their attendance, saying that wealth disparity and corruption in the business world are causing harm to society.
“I’m here because corporate greed and financial greed are ruining this country,” said a retired educator.
Groups of demonstrators gathered around television cameras periodically and tried to shout down reporters with accusations of manipulating coverage of the protest. Other isolated protesters tried to convince attendees to avoid speaking with the media altogether.
President Barack Obama referenced the nationwide demonstrations Thursday and called them a sign that voters are upset with Republican leadership, who he accused of blocking efforts to spark job growth.
“I think people are frustrated and the protesters are giving voice to a more broad-based frustration about how our financial system works,” Obama said.